Thousands flee new regime offensives in Syria

This comes as Russian air strikes are reported to have killed 370 people so far, many of them civilians.

Syrians carry a wounded man following reported air strikes by Syrian government forces on the rebel-held town of Douma, east of the Syrian capital Damascus, on 2 October, 2015. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The United Nations is warning that tens of thousands have fled new regime offensives in Syria, as Russian air strikes are reported to have so far killed 370 people, many of them civilians.

The mass exodus is focused south of Syria's second city of Aleppo, one of five areas where regime troops have launched renewed attacks since Russia began its air war last month.

Just yesterday, Russian air strikes in Syria's Latakia province killed a rebel commander and four other fighters from a group armed by President Bashar al-Assad's foreign enemies, a spokesman for the group said.

The attack on Monday evening marked the third time Russian war planes have targeted the First Coastal Division group since Moscow began its air strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad on 30 Septmeber, the group's spokesman Fadi Ahmad said.

He said a further 15 civilians had been killed in the air strike in Jabal Akrad, a rural, mountainous area in the province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier put the death toll at 45 rebels and civilians.

The First Coastal Division is one of several groups that have received foreign military support including US-made anti-tank missiles, the most potent weapon in the rebels' arsenal.

At the same time, rebels battling the Syrian army and its allies near Aleppo said they had received new supplies from states opposed to President Bashar al-Assad since the start of a major government offensive last week.

Syria's conflict has left more than 250,000 people dead and forced millions from their homes since March 2011, sparking a mass migration of refugees that has left Europe struggling to cope.

Additional reporting by Reuters.