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Syrian regime rolls back losses in Sahl al-Ghab

Syrian regime troops are attempting to win back contested territory in Hama [AFP]

Date of publication: 19 August, 2015

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After suffering heavy losses, the Syrian army and Hizballah are winning back villages in Sahl al-Ghab, close to Latakia.

Clashes continued on Wednesday between the Syrian regime and rebel forces in Sahl al-Ghab.

The villages of al-Zayara, al-Mashiak, and al-Mansoura saw the heaviest fighting, while the Syrian army and allied militias have captured a number of villages on the plain over the past two days.

Damascus had suffered heavy losses to the rebels in recent weeks, and have been attempting to reverse the tide in Sahl al-Ghab and Zabadani.

The counter-offensive is taking place with some success in north-western Hama, which lies close to Bashar al-Assad's home province, Latakia.

Northern Latakia has also witnessed clashes between rebels and Assad forces around Jebel al-Turkman.

Rebel shells have hit Latakia city over the past week. The city had escaped the worse of the fighting in Syria.

Yesterday, five people - including a woman and a child -were killed close to a bus stop when a missile hit Latakia city.

On Thursday, a Russian officer was understood to have been killed in the city, after a rocket fired from Jaish al-Islam hit Latakia, home to a Russian naval base.

More than 250,000 people have been killed in more than four years of fighting in Syria, and 10 million have been left homeless.


Around the capital

The Syrian regime has conducted indiscriminate air raids and rocket strikes on rebel-held civilian areas.

On Wednesday, ten people were killed in an artillery barrage on Harasta, in the Damascus countryside.

Around 100 people died in a regime airstrike on a market in Douma, a Damascus suburb, last weekend.

The regime is fighting a two-fold offensive, against the Syrian rebels across the country, and the Islamic State group in the east.

Eastern Syria is largely under IS control, but there are areas that have still not fallen to the armed group. Hassakeh has been a flashpoint for Kurdish, regime and IS fighters.

Tal Abyad, which borders Turkey, was the scene of a recent Kurdish-Syrian rebel advance of IS held-territories.

Deir-Azzor, meanwhile, has also seen continued fighting between the Syrian army and IS. The regime still holds parts of the city, and IS attacked these neighbourhoods today, and fired shells into al-Jora district.

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