Europe

Syrian government launches offensive south of Aleppo

  • Syrians sit in front of campaign posters for parliamentary candidates as they gather in the Marjeh square in Damascus , Syria, Monday, April 11, 2016. The vote - expected to be a rubber stamp of President Bashar Assad's loyalists - will only proceed in government-controlled areas as the Damascus authorities are unable to organize any balloting in rebel-controlled areas or the territory under the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    Syrians sit in front of campaign posters for parliamentary candidates as they gather in the Marjeh square in Damascus , Syria, Monday, April 11, 2016. The vote - expected to be a rubber stamp of President Bashar Assad's loyalists - will only proceed in government-controlled areas as the Damascus authorities are unable to organize any balloting in rebel-controlled areas or the territory under the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Syrians pass by campaign posters for parliamentary candidates as they gather in the Marjeh square in Damascus , Syria, Monday, April 11, 2016. The vote - expected to be a rubber stamp of President Bashar Assad's loyalists - will only proceed in government-controlled areas as the Damascus authorities are unable to organize any balloting in rebel-controlled areas or the territory under the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    Syrians pass by campaign posters for parliamentary candidates as they gather in the Marjeh square in Damascus , Syria, Monday, April 11, 2016. The vote - expected to be a rubber stamp of President Bashar Assad's loyalists - will only proceed in government-controlled areas as the Damascus authorities are unable to organize any balloting in rebel-controlled areas or the territory under the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

  • Syrian women pass by campaign posters for parliamentary candidates in Damascus , Syria, Monday, April 11, 2016. The vote - expected to be a rubber stamp of President Bashar Assad's loyalists - will only proceed in government-controlled areas as the Damascus authorities are unable to organize any balloting in rebel-controlled areas or the territory under the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

    Syrian women pass by campaign posters for parliamentary candidates in Damascus , Syria, Monday, April 11, 2016. The vote - expected to be a rubber stamp of President Bashar Assad's loyalists - will only proceed in government-controlled areas as the Damascus authorities are unable to organize any balloting in rebel-controlled areas or the territory under the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)  (The Associated Press)

A pro-government media outlet says Syrian troops have launched an offensive to retake a strategic hilltop village south of Aleppo from insurgents, including Al Qaeda's local affiliate.

Al-Manar TV says the attack on Tel al-Ais was launched on Tuesday. Al-Manar is run by Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces.

The village overlooks a supply line connecting the capital, Damascus, to the northern city of Aleppo, parts of which have been held by insurgents since 2012.

A coalition of insurgent factions captured Tel al-Ais earlier this month after heavy fighting despite a U.S. and Russian-brokered cease-fire, which excludes the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist-run monitoring group, says clashes are ongoing around Tel al-Ais and the nearby village of Khan Touman.