At least six people were killed as the Syrian army went on the offensive against rebel fighters on Tuesday, seizing a town in the central province of Hama, a monitoring group said. After three days of bombardment, troops and pro-regime militiamen backed by tanks and armoured cars entered Kfar Zita, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that rebel fighters had withdrawn. Militiamen looted homes and shops after town residents fled, the NGO said. It said four civilians were killed overnight in a "huge military operation" in the Kfar Oweid area of Idlib, a province bordering Turkey that is a stronghold of rebel forces. The foes also clashed in several other areas of the province in northwest Syria, said the Britain-based Observatory. The monitoring group said districts of the flashpoint city of Homs, also north of Damascus, came under artillery fire "as part of a campaign by regular forces to destroy them completely." In Latakia on the Mediterranean, two rebel fighters were killed in an attack by regime troops on the town of Al-Hafa, the group said. It said one of those killed was an officer who had defected from the regular army to join insurgents. "Clashes in and around Al-Hafa are ongoing, and regime forces are attacking the town with heavy machinegun fire and mortar shells," the Observatory's head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. In Idlib city, five soldiers were wounded in a blast, the Observatory said, while the region was the scene of violent clashes throughout Monday, as were Daraa in the south, Aleppo in northern Syria and Latakia. The group said anti-regime protests were held in the provinces of Damascus, Hama, Idlib and Raqa, in the country's northeast. In Aleppo, Syria's commercial hub and once a regime bastion, demonstrators chanted: "Revolution of dignity and freedom!" In Damascus suburbs, protesters with covered faces chanted: "God protect the (rebel) Free Syrian Army!" On Monday, 38 people were killed in violence across the country, including at least 18 civilians, the Observatory said.