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Air attacks on Eastern Ghouta and Idlib kill nearly 200

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The death toll in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta suburb and Idlib province has climbed to at least 180, as Syrian government and Russian forces continued their air attacks on the rebel-held areas for a fourth day.

At least 34 civilians, including 12 children and a woman, were killed in Eastern Ghouta, a rebel enclave on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus, on Wednesday, according to monitoring groups and activists.

Four others were killed in Idlib, which has been the target of recent alleged chemical attacks.

A government offensive backed by Russian air support has been under way in the area since mid-December, but both Idlib and Eastern Ghouta have come under heavy fire in the past four days after a Russian pilot was shot down and killed on Saturday.

“People here believe Russia is taking revenge after its plane was shot down by the rebels and its pilot killed,” Hazem Shami, an opposition activist in Eastern Ghouta told Al Jazeera.

“It is intense bombardment. At least 800 people are wounded. Some of them very seriously and they can’t be treated here.”

A search for survivors amid the rubble was under way on Wednesday by members of Syria’s Civil Defensive unit.

Residents and activists have described the damage and human suffering on the ground.

“Scenes of entire buildings, housing whole families crashing down with the residents – women, children and men – still inside have become a frequent image,” Abu Salem al-Shami, a resident and activist, told Al Jazeera by phone from Eastern Ghouta. (Al jazeera)

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