12 jihadists killed in north Syria: NGO

Fresh clashes between Kurdish fighters and jihadists have erupted in the majority Kurdish province of Hasakah in northern Syria, a monitoring group says.

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At least 12 members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) were killed early on Friday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which added that 22 Kurdish fighters have been killed over the past few days.

Reports of the latest Kurdish-jihadist violence emerged a day after at least 31 civilians, among them five women and four children, were killed in army shelling and an assault in the northwestern province of Idlib.

Meanwhile, Kurdish activists said there was heavy fighting in villages between Cel Agha and Gerke Lage as radical Islamists shelled Ras al-Ain.

Kurds expelled jihadist groups from Ras al-Ain in mid-July.

The fate of some 200 Kurds taken hostage by jihadists on Wednesday remains unknown, the Observatory’s Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Elsewhere on Friday, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad again shelled the rebel-held area of Jouret al-Shiyah in the central city of Homs, said the Observatory.

The bombardment comes five days after the key rebel neighbourhood of Khaldiyeh fell out of rebel control and into army hands.

Assad’s regime is pressing an offensive aimed at taking back remaining rebel areas in Homs, Syria’s third city and dubbed by activists as “the capital of the revolution”.

Meanwhile, the air force staged several air strikes on rebel areas across Syria, including two on Al-Harra in the southern province of Daraa, where rebels have made significant progress in recent weeks, said the Observatory.

Friday’s violence comes a day after at least 185 people were killed across Syria, the Britain-based watchdog said.

More than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria’s raging war, the United Nations says.