DAMASCUS, June 30 (Xinhua) -- At least 14 people were killed and more than 40 others wounded in a fresh mortar attack against Syria's northwestern province of Idlib on Monday, the state news agency SANA reported.
The mortars launched by "terrorists" slammed into residential areas and a marketplace in Idlib city, SANA said, adding that children were among those who were killed.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has placed the death toll at 15, but the number is likely to rise as a large number of people were wounded. Women and children were among those killed, it said.
The organization also said that the mortars were fired by a jihadist group called Jund al-Aqsa which has recently pledged to target areas under the Syrian government's control in Idlib in response to what they called the government troops' offensive in the same area. It said that the death toll caused by the government troops' shelling on the town of Salqin in Idlib a day earlier had risen to 27.
The government troops have been deadlocked in battles with an array of rebel groups since the Syrian crisis began in mid-March 2011. The Observatory has recently placed the overall death toll in the crisis at more than 160,000 people, including rebels, government troops and civilians.