The death toll from two days of bombing by Syria’s government of a rebel-held area has risen to 250.According to activists it is the worst violence in the eastern Ghouta area near Damascus since 2013. More than 50 children are among the dead.

The UN has warned that the situation is “spiraling out of control”. Meanwhile the Damascus government has sent forces to confront Turkish troops who have crossed the border to push back the Kurds in northern Syria.

Turkey fired shells near the advancing columns, which, it claims, forced the pro-government fighters into retreat. The Syrian military has not commented on the reports from the eastern Ghouta but says it carried out “precision strikes” on areas from which the shells were launched. A UN spokesperson said at least six hospitals had been hit in the area.