Damascus, Dec 30 (IANS) The Syrian troops carried out "qualitative" attacks against the positions of the Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and the like-minded Ahrar al-Sham groups in the northwestern province of Idlib, killing 13 of them Monday, the state news agency SANA reported.
The report said the Syrian army targeted the extremist groups' positions and hideouts in the vicinity of the town of Taftanas, which is about 15 km from Idlib's city centre, according to Xinhua.
SANA said that both groups in the countryside of Idlib receive support from regional countries, mainly in the Gulf region, adding that Ahrar al-Sham group in particular receive a big Saudi and Qatari support.
Meanwhile, the opposition activists of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian helicopters dropped crude barrel bombs on the farmland surrounding the city of Khan Shaikhoun in Idlib countryside, but did not give details on casualties.
The Al Qaeda-linked groups have recently ramped up their attacks against several areas in Idlib in a bid to consolidate their positions in that province and cover for their losses in other parts of the country.