Syrian and Russian air strikes on a rebel-held enclave on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, have killed more than 250 people for the third day in a row.
Air strikes, rockets and artillery fire have been battering Eastern Ghouta enclave in apparent preparation for a government ground assault.
At least 250 civilians have been killed since the escalation began on Sunday, among them dozens of children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Bombardment on Tuesday killed 106 civilians, including 19 children, the Britain-based war monitor said.
Yesterday, distressing images showing the corpses of around 20 young victims wrapped in blood-stained sheets on the floor of what looks like a medical facility emerged.
It was the second straight day that the civilian death toll topped 100, after 127 were killed Monday in Eastern Ghouta’s bloodiest day in four years.
The United Nations said bombs had hit six hospitals in the area on Monday and another was put out of service on Tuesday.
‘The Arbin hospital was hit twice today and is now out of service,’ said Mousa Naffa, country director in Jordan for the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), which supported the clinic.
At least three were out of service and two were only partially functioning, said the UN’s regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, Panos Moumtzis.
‘It’s beyond imagination what is happening in East Ghouta today,’ he said.
‘The untold suffering is intolerable and residents have no idea whether they will live or die. This nightmare in East Ghouta must end and must end now.’
The bloodshed prompted the UN children’s agency UNICEF to issue a largely blank statement saying ‘we no longer have the words to describe children’s suffering.’
Eastern Ghouta is home to more than 400,000 people living under crippling government siege, with little access to food or medical resources.
The area is included in a ‘de-escalation deal’ with the Syrian government, however, this agreement does not cover rebel groups who are also jihadists.
One of these groups is a former al-Qaeda affiliate, which has a small presence in Eastern Ghouta.
Other rebel groups say the Syrian government and Russia are using the jihadist presence as a pretext to continue their bombardment ahead of a ground assault to re-take the area.
Eastern Ghouta is mostly held by two hardline rebel groups that often fire rockets and mortar rounds into residential neighbourhoods of east Damascus.