Syrian rebels seize army positions in Assad’s heartland Latakia

Rebel fighters fire mortar shells on Syrian army positions near Mount al-Akrad in Latakia. File photo

ARA News

LATAKIA – Syrian rebel groups were able to take control of military positions after clashes with the regime’s army forces in the coastal province of Latakia–heartland of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, activists reported on Saturday. 

The opposition factions operate in the Syrian coastal region, which include the Free Syrian Army (FSA) along with allied Islamist rebel groups, were able to destroy several vehicles belonging to the regime’s army.

Speaking to ARA News in Latakia, local media activist Ammar Ali said that the rebel group of the Northern Squad [al-Firqa ash-Shimaliya] along with other Islamist rebels announced a new battle against the Syrian army forces in Latakia.

The anti-Assad coastal alliance carried out an offensive on several military points in the mountainous areas of al-Akrad and Turkman.

The source pointed out that the rebels stepped up attacks on the regime’s headquarters with heavy weapons and Grad rockets in the vicinity of the town of Kinsabba in Mount al-Akrad.

Subsequent to fierce clashes with the regime’s army, opposition fighters were able to take control of the Rasha, al-Jinzali and al-Mazighli villages as well as the Hidada hill, the Hidada School, and the Malik village in the vicinity Kinsabba.

“Syrian rebels were able to kill a number of pro-Assad soldiers, including the colonel Louay Aslan along with his entire group in the hill of Rasha,” the source reported, pointing out that the rebels were able to destroy a tank, seizing four machine guns [14.5 caliber], a SUV with 23-caliber machine gun in addition to the destruction of a bulldozer.

The source added that opposition fighters launched an offensive on several locations in the vicinity of Kinsabba in a bid to retake them from the regime’s army after the latter seized them with the support of the Russian air raids.

“Our fighters have regained several strategic areas in the vicinity of Mount al-Akrad despite Russian heavy bombardment on our positions,” a rebel spokesman told ARA News, preferring anonymity.

On February 18, the Syrian army forces took over the Kinsabba area after fierce clashes with opposition fighters, during which the latter retreated from the region under Russian airstrikes.

Reporting by: Haytham Mustafa

Source: ARA News

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