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Syrian state media is reporting that Syrian government forces have launched an offensive in the central province of Homs under the cover of Russian airstrikes.

Syrian state TV said that soldiers have captured the town of Khaldiyeh near the central city of Hama.

The offensive began early Thursday and was preceded by intense air strikes and shelling.

Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian aircraft had conducted at least 15 strikes on the edge of the rebel held town of Talbiseh and nearby areas killing 10 people including six opposition fighters.

Russian air cover has presented Syrian troops with ample opportunity to launch offensives around the country.

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