Intense battles are raging between the Syrian government forces and the rebels in the province of Idlib, a war monitor reported Sunday.
The battles are lasting on several fronts in the southern and southeastern countryside of Idlib as part of a wide-scale assault by the rebel groups.
The rebels’ assault started with heavy shelling on government forces’ positions near the areas of Abu Dafneh and al-Tah in the region.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the battles in Idlib on Sunday have killed 24 government troops and 13 rebel fighters.
Meanwhile, the state news agency SANA said the Syrian army foiled the “intensive” attack launched by the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, inflicting hefty tolls among the rebel groups.
The recent escalation comes after the failure of a new cease-fire brokered by Turkey and Russia last week.
The Syrian army has made notable progress in recent weeks in the battles against the rebels in Idlib, capturing several areas in the quest to liberate the road linking Hama province with Aleppo in the north.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said recently that the battle against terrorism in Idlib is a priority to the Syrian government.
Considered as the last major rebel bastion in Syria, Idlib has emerged as the main destination of the rebel groups who have evacuated several positions across Syria after surrendering to the Syrian army.
Certain parts of Idlib are covered by a de-escalation zone deal brokered by Russia and Turkey, which backs the rebels.
However, such deals exclude the ultra-radical rebels who are affiliated with the al-Qaida and branded as terrorist groups by the United Nations.