BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's state media says artillery shelling by government forces has pounded parts of the northwestern Idlib province where militants were trying to infiltrate.

SANA said Saturday's shelling focused on the town of Tamanaa near Maaret al-Numan that was taken this week by al-Qaida-linked militants from Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the government shelled six areas in and near Idlib province.

Earlier this month, members of the al-Qaida-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Arabic for Levant Liberation Committee, or HTS, took over control of Idlib province and the surrounding countryside after forcing rival insurgents to accept a deal for a civil administration run by HTS in their areas.

The developments threaten to derail a cease-fire in the area reached in September between Turkey and Russia.

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