An attack on Saturday by extremists linked to Syria’s former al-Qaeda affiliate killed 13 regime fighters on the outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo, a war monitor said.
A faction linked to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham “early on Saturday attacked checkpoints and positions of regime forces on the western outskirts of Aleppo city,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Heavy fighting and shelling broke out between both sides, so far “killing at least 13 regime troops and allies fighters,” the Britain-based monitoring group said.
The ongoing clashes have also taken the lives of at least eight members of the Abu Bakr al-Sadeeq Army faction, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman added.
Extremist factions control the countryside to the west of Aleppo, which is part of the broader Idlib region under administrative control of HTS.
That region is in theory protected from a massive regime military offensive by a deal inked in September by government ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey.
But the accord has unwound as HTS took full control of the region in January after defeating rival rebels, and the area has come under increasing bombardment.