50 dead as Syria rebel-jihadist clashes intensify

A war monitor has said almost 50 people were killed in two days during clashes between jihadists and rebels in northwestern Syria. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, clashes flared on Tuesday between Al-Qaeda-linked coalition Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and an alliance of rebel groups in western Aleppo province.

On Wednesday, the fighting spread to the neighbouring province of Idlib, the country's last opposition bastion, it added. Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based Observatory, said, "The fighting intensified and spread to the north and southeast of Idlib province." According to him, 48 people have been killed. HTS had on Monday accused rebel group Nureddine al-Zinki of killing five of its fighters, and launched an offensive against rebel positions.

Abdel Rahman said Wednesday that other NLF factions had now joined the fighting, while the jihadists had advanced into seven areas. Those killed include 24 HTS jihadists and 19 Nureddine al-Zinki fighters, the war monitor said.