BEIRUT: Activists say that Syrian government forces have heavily shelled the central town of Morek in an attempt to wrest it from rebels.
The Local Coordination Committees, an activist group, said Thursday that military helicopters were dropping barrels filled with explosives on the city. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said aircraft dropped over 20 bombs on the town Wednesday.
Morek lies on a strategic highway linking central and northern Syria.
Forces loyal to President Bashar Assad appear to be trying to seize Morek to supply the Wadi Deif military base further north.
The Observatory said at least 15 people, including four civilians, have been killed in the fighting.
Over the past year, Assad's forces have been steadily seizing territory from the rebels.