DAMASCUS, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- A Syrian military source said Saturday that army units have eliminated many armed militiamen in the country's northwestern province of Idlib, a main hub of armed insurgency in Syria's 22-month deadly conflict, according to state- run SANA news agency.
The clashes have taken place in the towns of Binnish, Tamsirin and Sarmin, the unnamed source said, adding that the army's operations were "qualitative" and led to the destroying of sophisticated sniper rifles and rockets.
Meanwhile, local media reports said that clashes between the rebels and government forces at the central prison of Idlib have continued Saturday, adding that more than 80 armed rebels were killed in the fighting that has been dragging on since Friday morning. Opposition activists, however, said the rebels had managed to storm the prison and free more than 300 detainees.
Media reports said many prisoners were injured as the building itself was damaged.
Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported several incidents in Idilb, saying that violent clashes took place between government forces and rebel fighters around the town of Heesh in Idlib countryside. It said that casualties were reported from both sides.
Two civilians were killed, including a woman, due to the shelling on the towns of Kafarsajna and Heesh near Idlib. The villages of al-Zawiya Mountain and the towns of Qaiqun and Jadeeda in Jusr al-Shughur were also bombarded by government forces, the Observatory said, stopping short of giving information about casualties.
In the capital Damascus, shelling and clashes continued in several hotspots around the capital, local reports said, adding that an explosive device went off in Bittar roundabout and injured one person.
Another explosive device ripped through a car in the Tijara area, witnesses said, adding that the blast left no casualties.
Syria's conflict has started as peaceful protests in March 2011, but quickly turned into armed insurgency and civil conflict, especially in recent months with the influx of armed jihadists into the country to fight alongside the rebels. A recent UN tally placed the death toll of Syria's conflict at more than 60,000 people.