By Sefa Mutlu
ISTANBUL (AA) - A four-year-old girl was killed in an airstrike that targeted an orphanage in Syria’s besieged Eastern Ghouta district, a suburb of Damascus, Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said Thursday.
The orphanage, established in early 2017, is jointly run by the IHH and the Kuwait-based Zakat House charity organization.
According to an IHH statement, the girl’s father -- who teaches at the orphanage -- was badly injured by the airstrike.
Erhan Yemelek, the IHH’s Syria coordinator, said the orphanage was also targeted last November but that the attack had not resulted in casualties.
“After the last airstrike [in November], the orphanage was rendered completely inoperable,” Yemelek said.
“We generally have about 50 children staying here, but they have all been taken to relatively safer areas since the regime began bombing Eastern Ghouta,” he added.
Since Tuesday, regime forces have stepped up attacks on the district using barrel bombs, artillery and other types of weapons, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent based in the area.
Over a three-day period, the regime has reportedly carried out 260 separate attacks in Eastern Ghouta, killing more than 250 civilian residents of the district.
Home to some 400,000 civilian residents, Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling regime siege for the last five years, which has brought the district to the verge of humanitarian catastrophe.
Syria has been locked in a devastating conflict since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.
According to UN officials, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict to date.