Clashes between jihadists and rebels raged yesterday inside Syria's last major opposition bastion for a third day, a monitor said, as the death toll mounted to more than 70 fighters.
Fighting flared Tuesday between the jihadist-led Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and a rival rebel alliance in the northern province of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The fighting then spread to parts of the neighbouring province of Idlib the next day, and then into Hama province yesterday, the Britain-based monitor said.
"New fronts have opened up," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said, with HTS seizing more than a dozen areas in recent days.
On Wednesday, 17 HTS fighters and 16 combatants from the Turkish-backed National Liberation Front rebel alliance were killed. That brought the overall death toll to 75 fighters from both sides, as well as six civilians, according to the Observatory.
HTS had on Monday accused NLF member Nureddine al-Zinki of killing five of its fighters, and launched an offensive against rebel positions.
HTS, which is led by the jihadists of Syria's former al-Qaeda affiliate, and rival rebels from the NLF have been battling each other for territory for two years.
And the last major rebel bastion of Idlib -- which includes adjacent parts of Aleppo and Hama -- has been regularly rocked by assassinations.