The United Nations envoy for Syria says government barrel bomb airstrikes have caused widespread civilian death and destruction in the city of Zabadani.
Fierce clashes and heavy bombardments continued overnight in and around the city.
Staffan de Mistura has expressed deep concern over the situation with the civilian population.
“In a statement issued last night, he cited reliable local sources that confirmed that a large number of barrel bombs have been dropped,” a UN spokesperson told reporters. “The ‘Army of Conquest’ have retaliated by firing rockets and heavy mortar shells on two villages near Idlib, Al Foua and Kefraya, where a substantial number of civilians are trapped.”
Control of Zabadani is crucial to consolidating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s control of the border zone between Lebanon and Syria.
Rebels say that although the army had surrounded insurgents inside the city centre and cut supplies of arms and food from nearby towns, they had so far prevented the army and its allies from storming their defence lines in street fighting.