Government air raids intensify in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta

At least 40 killed in recent days in what opposition activists call indiscriminate bombardment by government forces.

Beirut, Lebanon – The videos show chaotic scenes: first responders rush to evacuate wounded civilians in a marketplace, while others pull an injured man, covered in dust, out of the rubble of a stone home and onto a stretcher.

Dozens of people have been killed in a recent spike in violence in Syria.

At least 40 people have died in recent days in what opposition activists describe as “indiscriminate bombardment” by Syrian state forces.

The air raids are believed to be part of the government’s assault on rebel-held positions in Eastern Ghouta, a neighbourhood near Damascus.

The government says it has launched a counteroffensive because opposition fighters are firing shells into territories under its control.

But rebels say the government is trying to help troops fighting in the suburb of Harasta.

Eastern Ghouta is home to 400,000 people who have been living under siege for four years.

WATCH: Critically ill Syrians evacuated from Eastern Ghouta

Children comprise around half of the population in the area, which is one of the last rebel strongholds in the country.

In desperate need of food and medicine, aid agencies evacuated a few dozen people in need of medical care from Eastern Ghouta last week.

Almost 650 residents need urgent medical assistance, according to the Syrian American Medical Aid Society.

Medicine is being rationed, and people are dying of complications due to the limited availability of simple procedures like dialysis.