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Air strikes and rockets hit Syria enclave despite Russia backed 5-hr truce

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported air raids, including the dropping of two barrel bombs, as well as rocket fire

AFP | PTI  |  Beirut 

Douma  : In this photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defense group in Damascus suburbs known as the White Helmets, Civil Defense workers carry an injured man after government airstrikes hit Douma, near Damascus, Syria. (Photo: AP/PTI)

A fledgling "humanitarian pause" announced by in Syria's rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta was rattled today by fresh air strikes and rocket fire, several sources said.

"Fighting continues this morning. That is what our reports from Eastern Ghouta tell us," a for the UN humanitarian office, Jens Laerke, told reporters in Geneva, adding that it was premature to discuss any relief operations for desperate civilians given the persisting clashes.

The for Human Rights monitoring group reported air raids, including the dropping of two barrel bombs, as well as rocket fire, while accused rebel forces of shelling humanitarian corridors to keep civilians hostage.

The Britain-based Observatory said two barrel bombs -- crude, improvised munitions that cause indiscriminate damage -- on the Shaifuniyah area of Eastern Ghouta.

Rockets were also fired on several areas in the enclave but the of the Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, said no deaths were immediately reported as a result of the fresh violence.

The toll for the deadly blitz against Eastern Ghouta continued to mount nonetheless when five bodies were found in the rubble of destroyed buildings, he said.

A woman also died today when the roof of her home, damaged by earlier bombardment, gave in and collapsed on her, an in the main town of reported.

The Syrian state news agency also accused the rebels of firing several rockets on the path of the corridor declared by to allow for the evacuation of civilians.

It specifically accused the former affiliate present in some parts of the enclave of trying to prevent civilians from leaving "to use them as human shields".

The latest violence rattled the first five-hour pause that is due to take place daily, according to the terms of a deal announced by yesterday.

The violence remained significantly lower than at any point since February 18, when and Russian forces intensified their bombardment of Eastern Ghouta.

First Published: Tue, February 27 2018. 16:55 IST