Syrian army mounts attack in northwest, Idlib bombarded

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Syrian army mounts attack in northwest, Idlib bombarded
A man inspects damaged shops after an airstrike on a market in the town of Maarat al-Numan in the insurgent stronghold of Idlib province, Syria April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A view shows a trench in the rebel-controlled area of Bala town in Eastern Ghouta, Syria April 13, 2016. Picture taken April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
A man smokes a cigarette inside his damaged home during his visit to the city of Palmyra, Syria April 9, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki fighters look out inside a damaged building in Handarat area, north of Aleppo Syria April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
Civil defence members look for survivors after an airstrike on the rebel-held Old Aleppo, Syria April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
Men are seen covered with flour after unloading flour from a Red Crescent and United Nations aid convoy in the rebel held besieged town of Hamoria area, in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
Men tend to an injured cow after an airstrike in the rebel-held town of Turmanin, in Idlib Governorate near the Syrian-Turkish border, Syria April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
Residents look for survivors amidst the rubble after an airstrike on the rebel-held Old Aleppo, Syria April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki fighters rest inside a safe house in Handarat area, north of Aleppo, Syria, April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
A man is seen covered with flour after unloading flour from a Red Crescent and United Nations aid convoy in the rebel held besieged town of Hamoria area, in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria, April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
Produce lies amidst damaged shops after an airstrike on a market in the town of Maarat al-Numan in the insurgent stronghold of Idlib province, Syria April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
Residents look for survivors after an airstrike on the rebel-held Old Aleppo, Syria April 16, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
Women react to damage as they visit the city of Palmyra, Syria April 9, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
Men unloading aid boxes from a Red Crescent and United Nations(UN)aid convoy in the rebel held besieged town of Hamoria area, in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
A Red Crescent and United Nations aid convoy arrives in the rebel held besieged town of Hamoria area, in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria, April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
Children play table football in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood, Syria April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
A picture is hung on a wall inside a damaged house in the rebel-controlled area of Jobar, a suburb of Damascus, Syria April 11, 2016. Picture taken April 11, 2016. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
Residents carry belongings they collected from their damaged homes as they walk during a return visit to the city of Palmyra, Syria April 9, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A rebel fighter, in charge of policing the area and operating under a coalition of rebel groups called "Jaish al Fateh", also known as "Army of Fatah" (Conquest Army), prepares a controlled detonation of an explosive device found on the edge of a road linking Idlib to Armanaz area, Syria April 14, 2016. The sign reads: "Glory to God". REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
A man rides on a motorbike as another one walks past damaged buildings in the rebel-controlled area of al-Nashabyia town in Eastern Ghouta, Syria April 13, 2016. Picture taken April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
Men unload flour from a Red Crescent and United Nations aid convoy in the rebel held besieged town of Hamoria area, in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh
Smoke rises after an airstrike on the rebel-held town of Turmanin, in Idlib Governorate near the Syrian-Turkish border, Syria April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah
A man walks near damaged shops after an airstrike on a market in the town of Maarat al-Numan in the insurgent stronghold of Idlib province, Syria April 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Abdullah TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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BEIRUT, April 19 (Reuters) - Syrian government forces backed by Russian air power launched a counter-attack against rebels in the northwestern province of Latakia, a rebel group and a conflict monitor reported, as violence was reported across much of the northwest on Tuesday.

Targets included towns and villages where a partial truce agreement had brought about a lull in fighting between the government and rebels since Feb. 27. That agreement has unraveled in recent weeks.

Air strikes killed at least five people in the town of Kafr Nubl in the insurgent stronghold of Idlib province, and three others in nearby Maarat al-Numan, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring organization reported.

Rockets fired by insurgents, meanwhile, killed three children in nearby Kefraya, a Shi'ite town loyal to the government, it said. State media said the dead were members of one family.

The fighting in Latakia was focused on areas where insurgent groups had launched an attack on government forces on Monday, and where battles had often erupted despite the cessation of hostilities agreement.

"The regime is trying to storm the area, with the participation of Russian helicopters and Sukhoi (warplanes)," said Fadi Ahmad, spokesman for the First Coastal rebel group in the area. The Observatory said fighting had been raging since morning.

Government air strikes and barrel bombing was also reported in northern areas of Homs province that are under rebel control. The use of barrel bombs, or oil drums filled with explosives, has been denied by the Syrian government but widely recorded including by a U.N. commission of inquiry on Syria.

The Syrian army could not immediately be reached for comment.

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