Suspected Russian jets bombed two residential buildings in Mesraba, eastern Damascus, on the morning of Thursday, January 4, killing at least 20 civilians and injuring some 40 others. Misraba is part of Eastern Ghouta, a traditional rebel stronghold and one of the last areas in the Damascus region not under the control of the Syrian regime.
Eastern Ghouta has witnessed a spike in violence over the past week, after the Ahrar Al-Sham rebel faction took control of a regime military base that had been under siege since mid-November 2017. The Syrian army, aided by the Russian air force, has carried out a series of strikes in Eastern Ghouta since December 29, which have killed at least 60 civilians and injured at least 190 others as of January 4.
The Syrian regime has engaged in what the UN envoy to Syria has called a "surrender or starve" strategy in Eastern Ghouta. Humanitarian organizations continue to sound the alarm concerning the increasingly dire situation in the region, where some 400,000 people are suffering from hunger and cold. Humanitarian convoys to the area have been blocked by the Syrian regime in recent weeks.
Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.