Warplanes continued to pound eastern Ghouta towns on Wednesday, killing at least 24 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A member of the Syrian civil defence speaks on a wireless transmitter as other civilians flee from an area hit by a reported regime air strike in the rebel-held town of Saqba, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta. February 20, 2018.
A member of the Syrian civil defence speaks on a wireless transmitter as other civilians flee from an area hit by a reported regime air strike in the rebel-held town of Saqba, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta. February 20, 2018. (AFP)

Syrian regime jets carried out more deadly raids on eastern Ghouta on Wednesday, as Western powers and aid agencies voiced alarm over the mounting death toll and spiralling humanitarian catastrophe.

Bashar al Assad's regime has intensified strikes, this month, on the opposition enclave east of Damascus, where close to 300 civilians have been killed since Sunday.

Warplanes continued to pound eastern Ghouta towns on Wednesday, killing at least 24 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Most of them were killed when barrel bombs – crude, improvised munitions that usually cause indiscriminate damage – were dropped on the town of Kfar Batna, the Britain-based war monitor said.

On Wednesday, the opposition political chief Mohammad Alloush confirmed there were local and international attempts being made to mediate a truce in the enclave.

His comments followed those of UN Human Rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein, who said the international community must bring the “monstrous campaign of annihilation” of Syria's eastern Ghouta to an end.

“Any political agreement on eastern Ghouta must not include forced displacement of civilians,” Hussein added. 

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday also called for a truce in Syria's eastern Ghouta to allow for the evacuation of civilians trapped by a barrage of air strikes on the opposition-held enclave.

More than 1,400 people were wounded in three days that saw the bloodiest wave of strikes on the enclave since the start of the civil war in 2011.

“We are waiting our turn to die. This is the only thing I can say,” said Bilal Abu Salah, 22, whose wife is five months pregnant with their first child in the biggest eastern Ghouta town Douma. 

TRT World 's Caitlin McGee reports.

Medica overwhelmed

Medics have been overwhelmed throughout February. The five-year siege of the enclave has restricted access to medical supplies, while three clinics were hit and put out of service this week.

The hospital in the town of Arbin was hit twice on Tuesday and the Observatory said Russian warplanes had carried out that strike and others, its first on eastern Ghouta in three months.

The Kremlin on Wednesday denied any involvement in the strikes and rejected reports to the contrary as "groundless accusations."

The hospital in Douma, the largest town in eastern Ghouta, is still functioning, but the influx of wounded is such that doctors and nurses cannot save everyone.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said at least 67 children were among the 274 people killed in strikes since Sunday.

The bloodshed prompted UN children's agency UNICEF to issue a largely blank statement saying "we no longer have the words to describe children's suffering."

UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was "deeply alarmed" by the escalation of violence.

Eastern Ghouta is home to more than 400,000 people living under crippling siege, with little access to food or basic services.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies