A Syrian woman and children run for cover in Hamouria, in the Eastern Ghouta region.
CNN  — 

At least 71 people were killed and 325 others wounded in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta after the Syrian government carried out a series of airstrikes and artillery bombardments, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday.

Sixty-two of the victims were civilians, including nine children and five women. Nine militants were killed, the group said of the attacks near Damascus over a 24-hour period.

CNN could not independently verify the claim.

Members of Syrian Civil Defence carry an injured child following regime air strikes on the rebel-held besieged town of Douma in the eastern Ghouta region, on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on February 7, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Hamza Al-Ajweh        (Photo credit should read HAMZA AL-AJWEH/AFP/Getty Images)
Harrowing scenes from Eastern Ghouta
01:17 - Source: CNN

The Eastern Ghouta area has been surrounded by Syrian forces for more than four years, with the siege intensifying last May when government forces conducted a large-scale offensive.

It was supposed to be one of the “de-escalation zones,” according to the peace agreement struck by Russia, Turkey and Iran in May 2017.

About 400,000 Syrians have been killed since the conflict erupted in 2011, according to the United Nations. As many as 5.4 million Syrians have left their country, the UN Refugee Agency said, and 6.1 million are displaced from their homes but still inside Syria. The UNHCR High Commissioner, Filippo Grandi, calls the situation in Syria “the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time.”