Death toll in Syria rebel region reaches 35

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rescue workers and activists say the death toll from ongoing government strikes on the opposition-held region near the capital Damascus has risen to at least 35.

The Syrian Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets, said the 35 casualties were spread throughout a number of towns in the eastern Ghouta area, which is devastated by a combination of artillery and airstrikes.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, said it has documented at least 36 civilians killed so far, including 17 in one town, Jisreen. It said the dead includes a medic and at least 10 children.

Eastern Ghouta has an estimated 400,000 residents, who are also trapped by a tightening government siege and critical shortage of medical supplies and food. The region has been battered in an escalatory government bombing campaign. At least 169 civilians have been killed since Monday.