More than 100 killed in renewed fighting in NW Syria

More than 100 fighters were killed in clashes between regime and jihadist-led forces in northwest Syria, a war monitor said Thursday, as violence raged on the edge of an opposition bastion despite a September truce deal.

Eight civilians also died in the latest violence, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Six of them, including a child, were killed in regime air strikes on the town of Jisr al-Shughur.

A car bombing killed 13 people in nearby Afrin, the city that Turkey-backed rebels seized last year from Kurdish fighters.

Syria’s civil war has killed a total of more than 370,000 people and spiralled into a complex conflict since starting in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.

Russian and regime aircraft have since late April ramped up deadly bombardment of the Idlib region of some three million people in northwest Syria, despite a deal to avert a massive government assault.

Regime forces have also been locked in battle with jihadists and allied rebels on the edges of the bastion held by Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), including the north of Hama province.

Clashes raged since Wednesday night in northern Hama after a small advance by jihadist-led forces, the Syrian Observatory said.

Fighting and bombardment since the launch of the attack late Wednesday killed at least 57 regime forces and 44 jihadists and allied rebels, the Britain-based war monitor said, giving a revised death toll.

“The fighting is ongoing as regime planes and artillery pound the area,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

HTS spokesman Abu Khaled al-Shami said the jihadist and rebel fighters attacked after dark, taking control of the village of Hamameyat and a hilltop.

In air raids Thursday, a civilian was killed in a Russian strike on the Idlib town of Latamneh, the Observatory said, while rebel shelling cost the life of a woman in regime-held outside the jihadist stronghold.