Battles flare in N. Syria amid airstrikes, shelling
Battles between the rebels and the Syrian government forces flared in northwestern Syria on Wednesday amid shelling and airstrikes, a war monitor group reported.
The battles escalated when the rebels of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the umbrella group of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, launched counter-offensives to retrieve what they had lost in battles with the army in the northern countryside of Hama province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels are heavily shelling government areas in the northern Hama countryside and the adjacent southern countryside of Idlib province.
The Observatory said tens of airstrikes targeted the rebels’ positions in Idlib and the areas in the countryside of Latakia province as a retaliation for the rebels’ attack.
Fifteen people were reportedly killed as a result of the airstrikes, according to the Observatory.
The army is fighting to defeat the HTS in their last major strongholds in northwestern Syria.
Such areas are included in a de-escalation zones’ deal established in September 2018 by Russia and Turkey.
But the deal didn’t materialize and battles escalated since late last month.