Sixteen rebels and four regular army troops were killed on Saturday in clashes in Idlib province of northwest Syria, bordering Turkey, a monitoring group said.
"Sixteen fighters from deserter groups were killed in an ambush near Jisr al-Shughur town as they headed for the city of Idlib to fight regular troops," Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.
The monitoring group also said four soldiers were killed and five captured in a separate clash in Idlib, the focus of army operations on Saturday.
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"Four soldiers were killed and three others wounded in an attack by a group of deserters on a military convoy near Bdama town in the Jisr al-Shughur area. The deserters captured five other soldiers," said the Britain-based group.
Syria's official news agency SANA, meanwhile, said the authorities had foiled an attempt to infiltrate Idlib province from neighbouring Turkey.
"The authorities foiled an infiltration attempt by an armed terrorist gang from Turkish territory into Idlib province. Most of the terrorists were killed and the others arrested," it said.
SANA said they were carrying arms and ammunition as well as communications equipment, drugs and military uniforms.