Dozens killed in Syria clashes, as opposition forces counter-attack

Dozens killed in Syria clashes, as opposition forces counter-attack
2 min read
18 June, 2019
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that 45 combatants have been killed in clashes after rebels tried to retake territory recently lost to the regime.
A regime tank shells the rebel-held village of Tel Meleh in Hama province [Getty]

Clashes between regime forces and rebel groups that control Syria's northwest killed at least 45 fighters from regime and opposition sides, a war monitor said on Tuesday.

The fighting flared on the edge of Hama province when rebels - including forces from the formerly Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) - launched a dawn attack on regime positions, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said.

At least 14 regime forces died in ensuing clashes, said the Britain-based monitor. The rebels are trying to regain territory recently captured by the regime.

Since 26 April, opposition-held areas of Hama and Idlib province have been under attack by regime forces, despite a September 2018 ceasefire deal guaranteed by Russia and Turkey. More than 400 people have been killed in the assault and over 300,000 displaced.

Syrian state news agency SANA said that the rebel offensive had been thwarted.

The frontline had been relatively calm since clashes on Saturday killed more than 35 combatants, including rebels and regime fighters.

Regime airstrikes on northern Hama and neighbouring Idlib had also paused for more than 24 hours, before resuming Tuesday following the latest bout of fighting, according to the observatory.

The bombardment killed one civilian in southern Idlib, it said.

Syria's war has killed more than 500,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 after Bashar al-Assad regime violently suppressed protests calling for freedom and reform.