At least 96 fighters have been killed over 48 hours in Idlib during clashes between the two sides, a war monitor said. Meanwhile, Russian air strikes killed at least 14 civilians in Maarat al Numan and Saraqib.
Syrian regime forces and armed groups were locked in heavy clashes on Monday on the edge of Syria's last opposition bastion, with at least 96 fighters killed over two days, a war monitor said. At least 14 civilians were also killed in regime air strikes in Maarat al Numan and Saraqib villages.
The battles since Saturday on the edge of the militant-dominated Idlib region are the most deadly since a Russia-brokered ceasefire went into effect in late August, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"Fighting raged at dawn Monday on several axes in the southeastern Idlib countryside," the Britain-based monitoring group said.
Maarat al Numan, Saraqib air strikes
Regime-backed Russian air strikes hit Maarat al Numan, Saraqib, and other villages in Idlib, according to the White Helmets.
Following the airstrikes, civil defense teams launched search and rescue efforts.
In the first half of November, attacks by the Assad regime and Russia have displaced some 40,000 civilians within the Idlib de-escalation zone, according to Syria’s Response Coordination Group, a local NGO.
Turkey and Russia agreed last September to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone where acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Fight for Idlib
At least 51 regime fighters had been killed over 48 hours, while 45 of their opponents including 31 militants had also lost their lives in the fighting in Idlib, the Observatory said.
The Syrian regime does not usually divulge casualty figures.
The Idlib region, home to around three million people including many displaced by Syria's eight-year civil war, is largely under the control of the Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS) militant group, a former Al Qaeda affiliate.
It is one of the last holdouts of opposition to forces backing Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad.
Assad has long repeated that his regime would eventually reimpose its control over the country's northwestern region.
The late August ceasefire had brought about relative calm, months into a devastating Russia-backed regime offensive that killed around 1,000 civilians and ousted hundreds of thousands from their homes.
The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests.