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Syria: Russian air strikes kill three people from same family in Binnish

A UK-based activist group said opposition forces intercepted a government advance into northwestern Syria
The aftermath of a Russian air strike on the Syrian town of Binnish (AFP)

Russian air strikes killed three people from the same family in the town of Binnish in Idlib province on Monday, as opposition forces killed at least 12 government fighters after an attempted advance into northwestern Syria was thwarted, a UK-based group said. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that another 17 government soldiers had been wounded when their advance was intercepted.  

Pro-Assad forces launched the attack with artillery and heavy gunfire in Syria's last major opposition area, according to the Observatory. 

But militants from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham reportedly stopped the advance. Four HTS and two other rebel fighters were killed in the rural areas of the Latakia province. 

HTS controls one of the last remaining rebel-held areas in northwestern Syria and is home to at least three million people, half of whom have been displaced from other parts of the country. 

The rebel area is a regular target for attacks by pro-government forces and its Iranian and Russian allies.

Earlier this year, a Russian-backed government offensive between December and March displaced a million people in the region. 

A Moscow-backed ceasefire agreement in March has reduced violence in the area, but shelling and air strikes by the government and its backers continue.