BEIRUT: The Syrian army launched a new assault on Monday in the restive northern province of Idlib and the city itself, where residents are suffering "indescribable" humanitarian conditions, activists said.
The army offensive, which follows a ferocious weekend assault by regime forces against rebel bastions in Idlib, came as 27 people were killed in violence across Syria, according to monitors.
They comprised 12 civilians, 12 soldiers and three rebels, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"The army bombarded the Dbeit district in Idlib city and pounded the Ath-Thawra neighbourhood, where several buildings collapsed," an anti-regime activist in the city told AFP via Skype, giving his name only as Yasser.
He reported tanks and armoured cars driving around inside the city.
"The humanitarian situation is indescribable, the residents are totally without water and electricity, and communications have been cut off," he added.
While the army controls some parts of the city that were wrested from the rebels in an assault on Saturday, others remain in the hands of the insurgents.
In the Dbeit neighbourhood, 20 bodies were discovered on Sunday night, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britian-based Syrian Observatory.
On Monday, at least eight civilians were killed in Idlib province, the Observatory said, including a child travelling in car targeted by gunfire in Al-Mastum district and another civilian hit by a rocket.
Two others were shot dead near the town of Maaret al-Numan and in the Jabal al-Zawiya district, the monitoring group added.
"The government forces have also bombarded the Maaret Masrin area, near Idlib city," Abdel Rahman said.
Two soldiers also lost their lives in the province.
In the flashpoint central province of Homs, meanwhile, four civilians were reportedly killed by security force fire in separate incidents.
And in Hama province, three soldiers were killed by rebels who repulsed an assault on the Qalaat al-Madiq district after it came under heavy machine-gun fire from regime forces.
Five soldiers were killed in Daraa province, south of the capital, three of them in an attack on their vehicle in Daraa city, cradle of the anti-regime protests that first erupted one year ago.
And in the nothern province of Raqqa, three rebels and two intelligence officers in the Syrian air force were reportedly killed in Al-Tabka district.
Scores of people were killed over the weekend when regime forces stormed rebel bastions in Idlib province, with troops pouring into the city itself on Saturday.
The assault came 10 days after the Homs neighbourhood of Baba Amr was stormed, capping a month-long blitz in which hundreds died.