At least 12 jihadists killed in northern Syria: NGO

BEIRUT (AFP) - Fresh clashes between Kurdish fighters and jihadists erupted in the majority Kurdish province of Hasakeh in northern Syria early Friday, a monitoring group said.

At least 12 members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were killed, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which added that there was no information on the number of Kurds killed.

Reports of fighting in villages between Cel Agha and Gerke Lage raged as radical Islamists shelled Ras al-Ain, a strategic majority Kurd town, activists said.

"There was fierce shelling of Ras al-Ain at dawn today (Friday)," said Syrian Kurd activist Havidar, who also reported Islamists and Kurds fighting on the edges of the town.

Kurds expelled jihadist groups from Ras al-Ain in mid-July. Clashes have raged ever since in areas that are home to sizeable Kurdish populations.

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 two strikes on Al-Harra in the southern province of Daraa, where rebels have made significant progress in recent weeks, said the Observatory.

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

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