DAMASCUS, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army on Friday targeted a group of rebels who were attempting to undermine the demilitarized zones' deal in the central province of Hama, state news agency SANA reported.
The report said the targeted rebels were attempting to infiltrate into government-held areas in the northern countryside of Hama.
It added that many of the assailants were either killed or wounded as a result of the Syrian forces' shelling.
The rebels also fired sniper shots on military posts in northern Hama, said the report, noting that the rebels have repeatedly violated the demilitarized zones' deal, which was reached between Russia and Turkey last September.
The deal has largely been compromised as the al-Qaida-linked militants, who were supposed to evacuate from the planned demilitarized zones, have actually expanded and controlled the entire Idlib province in northwestern Syria.
Observers believe that the Syrian forces and their allies could launch a wide-scale offensive against Idlib, following the expansion of the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the umbrella group of the Nusra Front.