The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the war monitor, on Thursday June 6th, said that extremists in northwestern Syria launched an attack on government forces killing at least 21 fighters, following a series of regime advances in the area.
The deadly assault in a northern strip of Hama province, comes amid an escalation in violence in parts of the country's northwest held by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
Since late April, Damascus and its ally, Russia, have ramped up deadly air strikes and rocket fire on the region, and fighters have clashed on its edges.
Thursday's attack by HTS militants and allied jihadist groups in the village of Jibeen, follow a series of regime advances in the region in recent weeks.
"The insurgents are launching a counterattack," the Britain-based Observatory said. It added that at least five extremists were killed in ensuing clashes.
Syrian State news agency SANA said that militants launched rocket attacks on a number of villages in northern Hama, destroying homes. Syrian state television said that Syrian troops thwarted the assault on the villages of Tal Maleh and Jibeen.
Meanwhile, regime air strikes pounded the neighbouring province of Idlib and nearby areas on Thursday, as battles raged, the Observatory said.
One civilian was killed in the bombardment, according to the monitor.
According to AFP, more than 300 people have been killed by regime air strikes and shelling in the area since late April.
The bombardment has also displaced nearly 270,000 people in May alone, according to the UN.