A Syrian goalkeeper turned rebel fighter who starred in an award-winning documentary died this weekend of wounds sustained fighting regime forces in northwestern Syria, his group said.

Abdel-Basset al-Sarout, 27, was among dozens of fighters killed since Thursday in clashes on the edges of the Idlib region.

Some 215 fighters from both sides have been killed in the fighting, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

That number includes 65 regime fighters, as well as 48 jihadists and allied rebels on Saturday alone.

The region, dominated by an alliance led by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate, is supposed to be protected by a months-old buffer zone deal.

But it has come under deadly regime bombardment in recent weeks, sparking fears for its roughly three million residents.

Before Syria's eight-year civil war, Mr Sarout, from the central city of Homs, was a goalkeeper for the country's youth football team.

When peaceful demonstrations broke out against President Bashar al-Assad's regime in 2011, he joined in and soon became a popular singer of protest songs.

Following a brutal government crackdown on the protests, he took up arms.

Mr Sarout starred in the documentary "Return to Homs" by Syrian director Talal Derki, which tracked his evolution from protest leader to fighter, and won a top prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014.

Abdel-Basset al-Sarout's funeral in Sarmada, northwestern Syria

Jameel al-Saleh, commander of the rebel faction Jaish al-Izza, announced Mr Sarout's death in a message on Twitter, describing him as a "martyr".

Another of the group's commanders, Mahmoud al-Mahmoud, also confirmed the fighter's death.

"He was a well-mannered young man and one of the fiercest fighters I have known," he told AFP.

He said the fighter had been wounded two days previously in the battle for Tal Maleh, a village in the north of Hama province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Mr Sarout was wounded in overnight battles Thursday to Friday while fighting in the ranks of Jaish al-Izza.

"He died of his wounds on Saturday," said the head of the Britain-based monitor, Rami Abdel Rahman.

Mr Sarout was evacuated from Homs in 2014 under a surrender deal with the regime to end a two-year siege of its historical centre, according to the observatory.

His father and four of his brothers were killed during bombing and clashes in Homs, it said.

Since 2011, the conflict has killed 370,000 people and displaced millions.

Today, President Assad's forces are in control of almost 60% of Syria, after a series of Russian-backed victories against rebels and jihadists.

A large northeastern swathe of the country remains in Kurdish hands, while the Idlib region is dominated by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance.

Almost half of the Idlib region's residents have been displaced from other parts of the war-torn country, including under deals to hand back those areas to government control.

The region, also spanning slivers of neighbouring Latakia, Aleppo and Hama provinces, is nominally protected by a September buffer zone deal signed by Russia and rebel backer Turkey.

But the regime and their allies have upped their deadly bombardment of the region since late April, killing more than 330 civilians, according to the observatory.

The violence has also forced more than 270,000 people to flee their homes and hit 24 health facilities, the United Nations says.