Fighting erupts in central Syria amid Russian air strikes

Fighting erupts in central Syria amid Russian air strikes

Heavy fighting has broken out in central Syria as government troops backed by Russian air strikes battle insurgents, activists have said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a government offensive began on four fronts in the north-western provinces of Idlib and neighbouring Hama.

Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman has said it was “the most intense fighting in months”.

Activist Ahmad al-Ahmad, who is in Idlib, has said government troops were “heavily” shelling central areas after rebels attacked an army post and destroyed a tank.

The renewed fighting came exactly a week after Russia began air strikes in Syria.

Moscow says it is targeting the Islamic State group and al Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, but at least some of the strikes appear to have hit Western-backed rebel factions.

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