An alliance of Syrian rebel groups launched an attack Wednesday on the last two Shiite villages under regime control in northwest Idlib province, militants and a monitor said.

The “Army of Conquest” rebel coalition, which includes Al-Qaeda branch the Nusra Front, announced online its assault on the villages of Foa and Kafraya.

“We decided to begin the ‘Battle of Kafraya and Foa’ against the forces of Bashar Assad and Iranian militias,” a statement read.

Rami Abdel-Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the villages are the last Shiite localities held by the regime in Idlib, which rebels have overrun in recent months. “This is a very violent attack. There is heavy shelling on the towns, which have been besieged since March,” he told AFP.

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