Syrian rebels have detonated explosives and launched shells into two Shia villages they have besieged for more than a year, activists have said.
Fighters blew up four vehicles packed with explosives and launched more than 250 shells at the villages of Fua and Kafraya in Idlib province, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group said.
A video released by the Jaysh al-Fatah (Army of Conquest) rebel coalition on Friday showed its members firing a vehicle-borne canon in the direction of Fua at what they said were “Assad gangs”.
The alliance includes the Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, two of the largest rebel groups fighting against the Syrian government.
Al-Manar TV, which belongs to the Shia Lebanese movement Hezbollah, said pro-Assad fighters had repelled rebel attacks and destroyed five vehicles carrying explosives.
Hezbollah has thrown its weight behind Syria’s President Assad as he tries to put down an armed rebellion consisting mostly of the country’s Sunni community.
The villages of Fua and Kafraya are the government’s last two outposts in Idlib province, which has largely fallen to rebel forces after their capture of provincial capital Idlib city in March.
A number of truces brokered by Iran and Turkey to stop fighting in the villages, as well as in the town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border, have failed.
Zabadani is a rebel holdout in an area largely controlled by pro-government fighters. Hezbollah fighters have been involved in attempts to capture the city, backed by artillery and air cover from Syrian forces.