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Govt strike ‘kills dozens’ in Syria’s Douma

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At least 47 people have been killed and over 100 others wounded after Syrian government air strikes targeted a marketplace in a Damascus suburb, sources tell Al Jazeera.

An officer of the Syria Civil Defence in the Damascus’ suburbs branch told Al Jazeera that the air raids struck a busy market in Douma on Friday, killing at least 47 and injuring more than 100 others.

Douma, east of Damascus, has been under intense government attack for weeks now.

Witnesses said missiles were fired into the marketplace in a rebel-held part of Douma. The toll is expected to rise as people are pulled out of damaged buildings.

“This is the second time this market has been targeted in Douma,” the civil defence officer said over phone from Douma.

“There are only civilians here – no army and no opposition forces. Residents do not permit any armed person in this area.

“This market is at the heart of Douma and supplies everyone here. Lots of farmers come here every morning to sell their items. The market was intentionally targeted.”

A local activist, speaking to Al Jazeera on the condition of anonymity, said Douma was under heavy attack since Friday morning.

“Every 10 minutes we are under attack. Rocket attacks and air strikes. They bombed a local market, at least 45 people have been killed so far and we expect a rising death toll,” he said.

“Every corner of Douma is being bombed.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the UK-based monitoring group, said at least 40 civilians were killed and 140 others were injured in Friday’s assault on Douma.

The attack came as the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran met in Vienna with the aim of achieving a political settlement to help end the war in Syria.

Friday’s talks in the Austrian capital included an Iranian delegation for the first time.

Representatives from Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, the European Union, and other Arab states, are also expected to attend.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Lina Khatib, a research associate with the Arab Reform Initiative at School of Oriental and African Studies in London, said: “It’s a very good start now that we have Iran involved.

“Everybody has realised that the Syrian crisis cannot be won militarily.

“Unfortunately, the Syrian opposition doesn’t have a presence. They should have a say in what happens. They should be involved in the next stage of negotiations.” Al Jazeera

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