Dozens Dead In Syria As Air Strikes, Fighting Intensify

Airstrikes and fighting on the ground in northwest Syria have killed dozens as government forces press toward Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold.

Dozens have been killed in government airstrikes and intense shelling and fighting on the ground in rebel-held areas in northwest Syria, Syrian opposition activists say.

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An explosion was heard in a military area in Dummar, in northwest Damascus, with Syrian state TV reporting the blast was the result of an explosion in an arms depot.

Destroyed buildings in the town of Ihsim, in Syria's Idlib region, on June 14. Photo: Getty

Fighting intensified in the country's northwest as government forces pressed their offensive toward Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in the lengthy civil war.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the opposition's Syrian Civil Defense said at least 10 civilians were killed in Saturday's airstrikes and shelling of rebel-held villages and towns.

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Syrian state media said militants shelled government-held areas, causing material damage.

Members of the Syrian Civil Defence (known as the White Helmets) dig through the rubble of a building, following reported airstrikes, in the town of Maaret al-Numan.  Photo: Getty

The Observatory said Saturday's fighting alone left 26 troops and pro-government gunmen dead, along with eight militants.

The Ibaa news agency, the media arm of al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, or HTS, said the militants killed and wounded "a whole group" of Syrian soldiers in their second failed attempt to advance toward a strategic hill.

A man walking amidst the debris of destroyed buildings in Ihsim. Photo: Getty

Six weeks of violence has driven nearly 300,000 people from their homes. Many are living under olive trees, in tents or unfinished buildings, crammed into overcrowded shared rooms.

More than 300 civilians have been killed since fighting broke out on April 30.