Four suicide car bombs have struck Syrian regime targets in the Qalamoun region north of Damascus, killing at least seven soldiers, a monitor and state news agency SANA said.
Wednesday’s attacks came a day after troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad drove opposition forces from the nearby strategic village of Qara.
Responsibility for the attacks was claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front, two groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported two attacks in the town of Nabek.
"At least seven regime troops were killed in the two attacks, and five others are in critical condition," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
A Syrian security source told the Agence France-Presse news agency that there was just one explosion at a checkpoint in Nabek.
"The soldiers at the checkpoint stopped a suspicious car, and the driver, who was a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt, tried to escape but was shot dead by soldiers," the source said.
"However, the vehicle exploded," the source said, adding that there had been victims.
Meanwhile, SANA reported two suicide attacks in front of the Bassel hospital in Deir Attiya, a majority Christian town under army control north of Nabek.
"Several guards were killed, then the terrorists broke into the hospital and tried to destroy the equipment, but the army managed to chase them down," SANA said.
The Assad government routinely refers to the opposition forces battling to overthrow the government as "terrorists."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the opposition forces had entered the hospital to capture a wounded officer but were unsuccessful. The group did not report the two car bombs at Deir Attiya.
Government forces backed by Lebanon's Hezbollah have launched a major assault on Qalamoun, a mountainous region straddling key supply lines between Damascus and Homs as well as opposition smuggling routes crisscrossing the border with neighboring Lebanon.
Fighting raged elsewhere in Qalamoun, mainly around the rebel bastion of Yabrud, which the army shelled Wednesday, and Deir Attiya.
Jets launched airstrikes on rebel positions around Deir Attiya, the Observatory said, while ongoing clashes killed at least eight opposition fighters.
Well over 100,000 people have been killed in Syria's uprising, which began with peaceful protests against Assad in March 2011 but escalated into a full-blown insurgency after his troops launched a crackdown.