Deadly clashes erupted overnight as fighters attacked two besieged government-controlled villages in northwestern Syria, a monitor said on Sunday.
The villages of Fuaa and Kafraya represent a tiny pocket of government-held territory in Syria’s northwest Idlib province, which is otherwise almost entirely controlled by various militants and hardline rebels.
Occasional skirmishes erupt there but the frontline has been quiet in recent months.
Late on Saturday, fighters from al-Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate attacked Fuaa and Kafraya, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“Hayat Tahrir al-Sham [HTS] began heavily shelling the two villages, and broke into Fuaa to attack local fighters,” said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.
“This is the fiercest attack in around three years,” he told AFP.