Syrian opposition launches largest Khan Sheikhoun attack since regime takeover

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Syrian opposition groups carried out the largest attack since the regime forces’ takeover of Khan Sheikhoun, and the northern countryside of Hama, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday.

Sixty people were killed in the heightened fighting, which included air and ground shelling, as well as fierce battles east of the Idlib province.

“Violent clashes east of the town of Khan Sheikhun broke out at dawn after extremist and opposition groups attacked regime positions,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The attack was led by the Al-Qaeda-linked Hurras al-Deen group and another extremist faction -- Ansar al-Deen -- he said.

The fighting has killed 29 regime forces and 20 opponents, including 13 extremists, the Observatory said.

In the southeast of the bastion, eight rebels were killed trying to sneak through frontlines towards regime positions near the Abu Duhur military airport, the monitor added.

Regime forces recaptured Khan Sheikhoun last week, and have been massing north of the town in recent days as they prepare to push on with their assault.

The town lies on a key highway running through Idlib province, and fully recapturing the artery would allow the government to reconnect Damascus to second city Aleppo.

- With AFP.