Cities and towns along the critical highway linking Damascus with Aleppo have become sites of brutal destruction at the hands of the Syrian regime.
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says heavily-bombarded Maarat al Numan "is nearly besieged," with residents of several villages scurrying for safety in the northwest of the country.
Syrian regime and Russian forces have killed at least six civilians in northwestern Idlib province, according to a war monitor.
A war monitor says "fierce clashes" between loyalist forces, militants and allied rebels were taking place one kilometre west of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based war monitor, said that four children were among 15 civilians killed in air strikes by the Syrian regime and its ally Russia.
"We will never withdraw from the zone," says Hayat Tahrir al Sham, the largest militant group in northwestern Idlib, two days after regime announced a truce between it and opposition forces.
War monitor said that Syrian regime forces and insurgents fought fierce battles that left dozens dead in the country's northwest, as the regime tried to regain control of two villages they lost earlier this month.
Air strikes on the largely opposition and rebel-controlled region of northern Idlib followed air raids on Tuesday night and Wednesday that killed 23 civilians.
The State Department said it was assessing indications that the regime used chemical weapons on Sunday during its offensive in Idlib, the most significant remaining holdout of rebels.
Turkish and Russian defence ministers discussed measures to reduce tension in Idlib as Syria's northwestern region comes under increasing fire by the regime and its ally Russia.
Air strikes and shelling killed eight civilians in north-western Syria on Tuesday after deadly clashes between pro-regime and opposition forces rattled a months-old truce and sparked a new wave of displacement.
Attacks were intensified on villages and towns in northern Hama, southern Idlib and Latakia — areas that fall within a demilitarised zone agreed on last September between Russia and Turkey.
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