Beirut: Syrian troops bombarded a rebellious suburb of the nation`s capital with tank and artillery shells on Friday, killing dozens of people during a particularly bloody few days across the country, activists said.
The violence is part of a fierce government offensive aimed at regaining control of parts of Damascus suburbs where rebels operate. Major world powers were to meet on Saturday in Geneva to hash out a political transition plan for Syria, which has been convulsed by more than 15 months of violence.
It`s difficult to get an accurate death toll in tightly-controlled Syria, where journalists and human rights groups are either banned or severely restricted. But two opposition groups that compile and document casualties reported the death of more than 125 civilians in fighting across the country on Thursday alone.
Death tolls often take several days to compile because of the restrictions and chaos in the country.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday`s toll included more than 60 soldiers. If confirmed, it would be one of the highest death tolls on a single day since the start of the uprising against President Bashar Assad in March 2011.
Activists said at least 43 people were killed in more than two days of shelling in the sprawling Damascus suburb of Douma, which has been a hotbed of dissent and has put up strong resistance to the Assad regime.
The dead included three children and five members of a single family.