Battles between al-Qaida-linked fighters and Syrian government forces left 73 people dead in a village near Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Friday.

The jihadists were able to recapture early Friday the village of Khan Touman, and others surrounding it, after nearly a day of fighting with government forces.

The village is located about 15 kilometers southwest of Aleppo. It is of strategic importance to the rebels because of its proximity to Damascus-Aleppo highway, which connects the capital, Damascus with several other major cities along Syria’s western border.

The attack was carried out by a group of Islamist insurgents known as Jaish al-Fatah, which has refused recent efforts by the U.S. and Russia to de-escalate the fighting in Aleppo.

Earlier this week, the two countries brokered a cease-fire deal within the city of Aleppo where about 300 people have been killed in the past two weeks due to fighting between government forces and rebels.

Of those killed Friday, 43 were rebels, while another 30 were government forces, the human rights group said.

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