Damascus, Syria – Activists reported Saturday that the regular Syrian army is now seeking to advance in the countryside of Latakia, especially toward the village of Salma to eliminate opposition fighters in the areas.
Speaking to ARA News in Latakia, media activists said that on Saturday pro-Assad forces launched what they called “battle for liberating the Latakia countryside”, in an attempt to repel opposition fighters from areas of control in the countryside of Latakia.
“The Syrian army’s aim during these operations is to strengthen its grip on the mountains around the province.”
On the other hand, the armed opposition denied any progress by the Syrian army toward the mountains of Latakia.
“Our fighters (rebels of the Free Syrian Army) are now on the outskirts of Latakia, which is considered the main stronghold of Bashar al-Assad and his Alawite sect, after advancing in the countryside of the province and pushing back the regime forces to the hills near the city,” a military source reported.
According to military sources, battles in Latakia started on Thursday by the regime’s army, backed by local militias, in order to expel the opposition forces from the province and regain control of the areas held by opposition fighters in the nearby province of Idlib, northwestern Syria.
Speaking to ARA News, media activist Ali Owaid said that the armed opposition supported by al-Fath Army (extended umbrella for rebel factions) is currently engaged in battles to control Idlib completely. On the other hand, the opposition fighters are locked in fierce battles in Sahl al-Ghab in the northern countryside of Hama.
“The armed opposition aspires to control Latakia, however the regime strives to keep the province away from the opposition fire,” the source added.
Opposition sources reported Friday that four members of the pro-Assad Lebanese Hezbollah militia were killed during clashes in the countryside of Latakia, as a result of artillery shelling by the opposition forces.
Reporting by: Adel Hassan
Source: ARA News
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