At least 143 civilians were killed, including 28 women and 29 children, and 370 civilians injured, 75 of which women and 60 children, following a five-day military operation led by Assad forces targeting the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta province in Douma, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said in a report.
The report attributed the attacks to the government's military forces, alleging that they have been perpetrated in retaliation after the “Al-Islam Army targeted various areas Damascus with missiles.” The report, which also based its content on 35 videos and 50 photographs it received, documenting the loss of human life and destruction, said the attacks were excessive and the use of force was unjustifiable. The human rights organization said that they:
[F]ound out that there were no rebels’ presence or any military centers or gatherings in any of the areas that was targeted by government forces. The operation didn't have distinguishable or known target[s] as neighborhoods, hospitals, markets were all targeted and citizens were killed regardless of their beliefs.
The sanguinary attacks came after a recent BBC interview with Assad. He stated that any attack perpetrated by his forces is aimed at terrorists to protect civilians.
— Abdulhadi Almutairi (@Hadutchi) February 10, 2015
According to the report, aerial strikes, primarily barrel bombs and missiles, destroyed dozens of residential buildings, two ambulances, schools, mosques, and the central and main medical point in Douma city.
A graphic video released by Shaam Network News on YouTube shows a distorted and bloodied young girl sitting on a hospital bed against a poorly sanitized wall. A man is heard telling the medics in Arabic that “her entire family is gone [and that] she was the only survivor.”
The attacks, which received little to no recognition from mainstream media, prompted users on social networking sites to spread awareness using the hashtags #Douma_Exterminated and #دوما_تباد in both English and Arabic interchangeably.
Twitter user Mudar Shanwan, who currently resides in Istanbul, Turkey, tweeted a photograph of civilians in Douma helping each other while walking on rubble, with the caption: “we just want to be human again.”
— mudar shanwan (@MudarShanwan) February 11, 2015
Twitter user Omar Halbooni also shared an aerial shot showing complete destruction:
— عمر (@OmarHalbooni) February 11, 2015
Syrian journalist and writer Dr Ahmad Muaffaq angrily protested the global community for not adequately reacting to the news:
— د ـ أحمد موفق زيدان (@Ahmadmuaffaq) February 11, 2015
Our worst beats the best of yours, Douma is being exterminated and you do not react. The world is despicable.
Many users also shared graphic content of the attacks’ horrific aftermath, sharing photographs with rows of children's bodies lined on the ground for family members to claim them. Photographs of those who survived showed children covered in blood, some with body parts missing, barely recognizable.
Sharing a graphic photograph of a child with a defibrillator pressed against her chest in an attempt to restart her heart, this Twitter user said:
— jasmine rose (@JasminroseRose) February 10, 2015
Rawia Alhoussaini shared photographs of her destroyed family house:
— Rawia Alhoussaini (@souriastrong) February 10, 2015
This Twitter user said that the hashtags provide the world with a grim view of what is happening in Damascus suburbs:
— Known Gnomes (@UnknownUngnomes) February 10, 2015
Twitter user Omar also added:
— عمر (@MidEasternist) February 10, 2015
In a Facebook post, acclaimed Syrian artist Tammam Azzam asks:
هل أفرغ العالم كل عواطفه في مشاهدة قتل رهينة، وحرق طيار، ثم صمت عن دوما؟!!!
Did the world exhaust its emotions after watching ISIS footage killing hostages and burning pilots, and only knew silence when it came to Douma?
Dubai-based Khaled Akbik questioned the world's priorities:
— Khaled Akbik (@Khaledtron) February 11, 2015
Karam Foundation Director of Innovative Education Kinda Hibrawi asked where humanity went:
I dare you to look up the hashtag #Douma_Exterminated on twitter. Then let me know what happened to humanity.
— Kinda Hibrawi (@KindaHibrawi) February 10, 2015