Renewing pressure on the Assad regime’s remaining positions in northwest Syria, rebels are attacking near Idlib city.

Wednesday’s attacks were close to al-Fuah and Kafarya, northeast of Idlib city, including strikes by rockets and missiles and clashes with regime forces on the ground.

The opposition — including Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Islam, and other factions in the Islamic Front and the Sham Front as well as Jabhat al-Nusra — are hoping to cut off al-Fuah and Kafarya from each other and from regime-controlled Idlib city, taking the main highway.

Pro-regime accounts said Wednesday’s attacks were repelled; however, rebels said they took six checkpoints and the “Olive Factory” position at an important intersection between al-Fuah and Kafarya.

Rebels also captured a school on the highway between Idlib city and Maraat al-Misrin, following a car bomb by the Jund al-Aqsa faction that killed 15 Syrian militia, according to a freelance journalist at the site.

State news agency SANA only says, from “a military source”, that “units of Army and Armed Forces eliminated members of a terrorist group in the area surrounding Kafarya village in Idlib countryside”.

A rocket attack on Kafarya:

The offensive is the second this month — rebels also attacked al-Fuah two weeks ago.

The opposition holds most of Idlib Province, with the notable exception of Idlib city, which had a pre-war population of 200,000.

Report: Syria’s Head of Political Security Ghazaleh is Injured in Daraa Fighting

Lebanese MP Assem Qanso has supported reports that Rustom Ghazaleh, the former head of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon, has been injured in fighting in southern Syria.

Qanso, a member of Lebanon’s pro-Assad Baath Party, said he had visited Ghazaleh in a Damascus hospital where he is being treated for injuries. The MP denied “all the information that spoke of [Ghazaleh’s] death”.

Qanso said Ghazaleh was hit by shrapnel while fighting in his hometown of Qarfa in Daraa Province.

Ghazaleh, appointed Syria’s political security chief in July 2012, rose to prominence as the head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon from 2002 to 2005, before Syria’s forces withdrew from the country.

In-Fighting Between Jabhat al-Nusra and Harakat Hazm Worsens

The in-fighting between the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra and the Harakat Hazm brigade, which has received US-made weapons, has worsened.

Jabhat al-Nusra has demanded that the rebel bloc Sham Front hand over Harakat Hazm fighters whom the Islamists accuse of kidnapping and attacks on supply lines.

Unconfirmed reports claim that the Sham Front is preparing to accede to the request, following the killing of Jabhat al-Nusra leaders who were detained by Harakat Hazm.

Harakat Hazm said that its members will go before a sharia court, provided it is “independent” and not controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra.

The tension between the groups rose last November as Jabhat al-Nusra fought another faction, the Syrian Revolutionary Front. Harakat Hazm tried to limit the conflict by holding up Jabhat al-Nusra units at checkpoints, leading to clashes.

Rebel blocs have tried to reconcile the two groups or at least to ensure that they avoid further in-fighting; however, Jabhat al-Nusra has insisted that Harakat Hazm members appear in sharia courts for their “crimes”.

Harakat Hazm was promoted by US officials and media in early 2014 as a “moderate” alternative to “extremist” groups in the rebellion. It soon received US-made TOW anti-tank guided missiles.