DAMASCUS, May 26 (Xinhua) -- At least 28 rebels were killed on Sunday by the Syrian army on the outskirts of the town of Kafr Nabudah in the northwestern countryside of Hama province in central Syria, a war monitor reported.
The rebels were killed as the Syrian army captured Kafr Nabudah for the second time within a week on Sunday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Syrian army captured that key town after battles with the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the umbrella group of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
Meanwhile, the Observatory said that the army captured Kafr Nabudah after targeting it with over 675 airstrikes and ground shelling.
The Britain-based watchdog group said the battles are taking place on the eastern and northern outskirts of the town, adding that huge losses were reported on both sides during the last hours of fighting.
It is worth noting that the Syrian army captured the town on May 8 and lost it again to the al-Qaida-linked groups on May 22 amid ongoing showdown in areas in the countryside of Hama, the nearby countryside areas of Idlib and Latakia provinces.
Kafr Nabudah has strategic importance as it links several towns in northern Hama countryside with rebel-held areas in the southern countryside of Idlib.
Areas in the countryside of Hama, Idlib and the western countryside of Aleppo are included in the de-escalation zones deal which was reached between Russia and Turkey in September 2018.
The deal failed to materialize as the HTS expanded in Idlib and started attacks on Syrian military positions instead of withdrawing from the designated zone which combines Idlib with Hama and Aleppo countryside as well as mountain areas in the eastern countryside of Latakia province.