At least 44 people have been killed in air raids by Syrian forces on two rebel-held towns near Damascus.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 17 people were killed in Douma, northeast of the capital, and at least 15 were killed in Kfar Batna, to the east.

State news agency SANA, meanwhile, said 12 people were killed in rebel mortar fire on southern districts of Damascus.

With the more than three-year-old conflict raging across Syria, the rebel bastion of Douma has been besieged by regime forces for more than a year.

It has been the target of regular bombardment.

Activists on the ground confirmed today's air raids, saying that markets had been the targets.

Syria's conflict is estimated to have killed more than 170,000 people and displaced around half of the population since it broke out in March 2011.