Syrian forces Sunday entered the town of Jisr Al-Shughur and clashed with "armed groups", state television said. "Army divisions entered Jisr al-Shughur and purged the state hospital of armed groups," the television report said.
"Violent clashes pitched the army divisions against armed groups positioned inside and around the town," it added. The army entered the town "after defusing dynamite placed on the bridges and roads by the armed groups," the report said, adding that "two armed men were killed and many more arrested, with machine guns also seized."
Meanwhile, rights activists told AFP the army, backed by around 200 tanks and by helicopter gunships, launched a two-pronged assault on the town early morning after first firing off barrages of shells. Locals said that blast had been heard throughout the morning.
The crackdown in the region has seen more than 5,000 people flee across the border into Turkey, according to latest figures given Sunday by Turkey's Anatolia news agency.