Brutal violence leaves at least 200 dead in Syria

LONDON -- It's hard to believe that in a brutal civil war that's lasted seven years, some of the worst acts of violence in Syria have come in the last 48 hours. At least 200 civilians have been killed in government shelling and airstrikes.

The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, propped up by Russia, is trying to bury the opposition on the outskirts of Damascus. After one airstrike, residents scrambled to find survivors and protect themselves from the next one. Even by the standards of the Syrian war, activists describe what's happened in the past 48 hours in the rebel-held enclave of Ghouta near the capital as a bloodbath.

SYRIA-CONFLICT

Members of the Syrian civil defence search for injured victims through the rubble of destroyed buildings in an area hit by a reported regime air strike in the rebel-held town of Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on February 20, 2018.

Abdulmonam Eassa / AFP/Getty Images

With help from their Russian allies, the Syrian regime's bombs has left hundreds dead. Syria's civilian rescue crews -- the White Helmets -- captured the chaos while evacuating terrified residents. They rushed the wounded to the hospital and medics pleaded with a desperate father to let his son go. Moments later, the boy had become yet another victim of a war he wasn't fighting.

White-shrouded bodies lined the hospital floors, many of them children. Ghouta has been under siege for more than five years. People there suffered a chemical attack in 2013 that shocked the world. Food supplies, aid and medical assistance were cut off, and pro-government forces are reportedly preparing a new ground assault that will crush the rebels once and for all.

All residents can do is brace for the onslaught.