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Latakia: Clashes renewed between rebels, regime army over strategic hilltop

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Clashes intensified on Monday between Syrian rebels and regime forces in coastal Latakia province as rebels press to take strategic hilltop after seven days of remarkable gains in Jabal al-Akrad and Jabal a-Turkman areas, rebel commander said.

Abu al-Jarrah, field commander, said clashes are still underway neat Tellat al-Baidaa. The regime forces and allied militias have fortified the hilltop, halting rebels advances.

Rebels seized this week the strategic town of Kansaba and and array of hilltops that overlook on Salma town.

Rebels, who launched 'al-Yarmouk Battle' early this week to recapture ground lost to regime favor months ago in Jabal al-Akrad and Jabal al-Turkman, have seized control of Ayn al-Qantra, Tellat al-Haddadeh and Wadi Basour, Tellat a-Malek, Tellat Rasha, al-Qermil, al-Hakoura and Mzeghla villages.

Rebels' gain was a rare in Latakia since Russia intervened in the five-year Syrian conflict on the side of Bashar al-Assad last September.

Experts linked regime's retreat in the Assad heartland province with the revived relations between Russia and Turkey, saying Russia has lessen its support for Damascus what gives the upper hand for rebels in Latakia battles.

Moscow said on Thursday it may negotiate Assad's future but not in the meantime.



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