DHAKA: At least 14 civilians have been killed and several others wounded in a series of barrel-bomb attacks on rebel-held areas near Damascus, activists have told Al Jazeera.
Syrian government air strikes targeted the town of Wadi Barada, northwest of the capital on Monday, injuring dozens of people, including several children, activists said.
According to videos posted on social media by opposition groups, the Syrian regime intensified its assault on the town.
The White Helmets, a team rescuing people from bombed-out houses, said a number of people were trapped under the rubble following the heavy bombardment.
Barrel bombs are typically constructed from large oil drums and filled with explosives, nails and scrap metal.
Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Gaziantep on the Turkish side of the Turkey-Syria border, said the Syrian regime was in the third day of an offensive against Jaish al-Islam, which controls Wadi Barada and is one of the most powerful groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
On Friday, the Syrian army and the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, launched an operation to retake Wadi Barada, after accusing the rebels of contaminating drinking water at a spring with diesel.
The Wadi Barada valley, a mountainous area near the Lebanese border, has been under siege since 2014 with food, water and electricity all in short supply.
BDST: 1921 HRS, DEC 26, 2016