BEIRUT – The Latest on Syria related developments (all times local):
Syrian opposition activists and paramedics are reporting a fresh wave of bombardment of the rebel-held eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus, saying 13 people have been killed.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and activist collective Ghouta Media Center say the bombings targeted areas including Arbeen, Douma, Kfar Batna and Saqba.
The Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, that works in opposition-held areas said its paramedics have rushed to several areas after the shelling.
The Observatory said at least 13 people, including three children and three women, were killed in Arbeen on Thursday.
Syrian government forces have been pounding rebel-held eastern suburbs of Damascus, also known as eastern Ghouta, for weeks.
The Observatory said that since the latest wave began on Sunday, 335 people have been killed.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for the European Union to step up pressure on Russia and Iran to end the violence in Syria.
Hundreds have been killed amid increased bombardments in recent days and Merkel told Parliament on Thursday: "The regime is not fighting against terrorists, but against its own people, killing children, destroying hospitals, and this is a massacre to be condemned."
Besides President Bashar Assad, himself, Merkel says "Iran and Russia have a particular responsibility," as they are both supporting the government forces.
She says Germany's foreign minister plans to talk directly with his Russian counterpart and called for other EU nations to also do what they can.
Merkel says "we need to do everything in our power to put an end to this massacre."