Bashar al-Assad speaks during the Arab League summit, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in this still image obtained from a video May 19, 2023. REUTERS/KL/

 – A drone attack targeted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ancestral town of Qardaha on Friday with two projectiles, killing one person and lightly injuring another, Syrian state news agency Sana reported.

The strike came a day after Sana reported a drone attack on Salhab, another government-held town in northwest Syria near rebel territory, that killed a woman and a child.

The strikes on Qardaha and Salhab, which are around 35 kilometres (22 miles) apart, come amid a flare up in fighting in the northwest with shelling between Syrian government forces and rebels on some front lines.

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Qardaha is about 10 km (6.5 miles) from Russia’s Hmeimim airbase. Russian warplanes have targeted rebel-held areas recently, the Syrian opposition has said. Syrian government forces have increased deployments in some front line areas according to sources on both sides.

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Major warfare has mostly stopped in Syria with front lines largely stable in recent years after Assad’s government regained control over most of the country with help from his allies Russia and Iran.

However rebels against Assad still hold an enclave centered on Idlib province in the northwest, close to Qardaha and Salhab, with backing from Turkey and there are sporadic bouts of fighting between them and Syrian government forces.

(Reporting by Angus McDowall and Suleiman al-Khalidi. Editing by Frances Kerry)

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