Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Islamist rebels battle Syrian army near Assad heartland

01 May 2015, 10:02

Amman - Islamist rebels and the Syrian army fought fierce battles in Latakia province overnight close to President Bashar al-Assad's ancestral home, the army and rebels said, after weeks of insurgent gains in the country's northwest.

Rebels seeking to topple Assad have in the past sought to bring their four-year-long insurgency close to coastal areas in government-held Latakia, heartland of Assad's minority Alawite community.

An army source told state news agency SANA fighter jets hit insurgent hideouts in the northern Latakia countryside with "tens killed and wounded." Latakia is the main port in Syria and along with the capital Damascus is one of the most important government-held areas in the country.

The violence follows advances in neighbouring Idlib province by the hardline Ahrar al-Sham group and Syria's al Qaeda wing Nusra Front as well as other allied fighters.

Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, said the Latakia battles started with an army offensive on Thursday, backed by local militias, aimed at pushing the insurgents out of the province in order to advance on captured areas of neighbouring Idlib.

Also Read: Kobani still a ghost town, months after liberation from IS

The Observatory, which collects information from a network of sources on the ground, said at least five insurgents were killed and an unidentified number from the pro-government side.

Two rebel sources said the fighting in Latakia was near the mountains of Jabal al-Akrad, close to some of the highest peaks in Syria including Nabi Younis that overlook Alawite villages and close to Qardaha, hometown of the Assad family.

"The capture of the peaks would make the Alawite villages in our firing range," said an Ahrar al-Sham commander based in Idlib on Skype.

The Observatory's Abdulrahman said the army wanted to secure the valley and peaks in order to advance on Jisr al-Shughour, a town in Idlib province captured by insurgents a week ago.

In August 2013, Islamist rebels and foreign fighters briefly captured Alawite villages.

On Friday Syrian television said army units targeted "groups of terrorists" in the eastern and southern Idlib countryside and "eliminated a great number of them and destroyed their weapons and munitions."

Diplomats say rebels are trying to pressure the overstretched army on as many fronts as possible to spread its resources ever more thinly.

- Reuters

Tags syria

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...