Facing devastating onslaught, rebels in Syrian town fire back

DAMASCUS In Syria, a five-hour truce ordered by Russia, the chief ally of the Assad regime, took effect Tuesday in the rebel-held town of Ghouta outside Damascus. But no supplies got into Ghouta, and no wounded were evacuated.

We walked along a street marked by shrapnel with Safran Hamdeh, who told us mortars hit a mosque, a school and his house. Just walking through the neighborhoods, you can see where mortars have fallen.

One neighborhood in Damascus is not far from Eastern Ghouta, where Syrian forces have been brutally bombing the rebels for the past 10 days. The rebels have fired back with mortars, their main weapon, and one tore into the second floor of Hamdeh’s house.

“They hit my home and made my wife and family afraid,” he said. “Those people are terrorists.”

On Tuesday, there was a brief lull in the fighting, supposedly to let humanitarian aid into Eastern Ghouta. The hospital on the government side was quieter too. Medical Director Nihad Assaf introduced us to one patient who was injured in a mortar attack. The doctor translated for us, saying, “In one moment, they were a family — father and mother and son. Now their son is dead.”

Elias Khouli, his son, was just 4 years old. We told the doctor that we can see the emotion in his eyes when he’s translating.

“I think that this war is very bad for all the Syrian, not only for us,” Assaf said.

There is pain among the civilians caught on the government and the rebel side of this conflict. We can hear explosions in the distance picking up again, when they hit the airstrikes pound like thunder.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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