BEIRUT: Clashes pitting mainly militants and rebel fighters against regime forces backed by Russian warplanes killed at 66 people on the edge of Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, a monitor said Friday.
Among the victims were at least 19 civilians killed by air strikes, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that the casualties were over 24 hours of fighting in an area straddling Idlib and Hama provinces.
The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, said seven children were among the civilian victims.
He said 27 soldiers and members of allied paramilitary units were killed in the fighting as well as 20 anti-regime combatants, from rebel groups the former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham.
The fresh violence in the area appeared to signal the initial phase of a major government operation against Idlib, the only province in the country that completely escapes regime control.—AFP