The Free Syrian Army and rebel groups have launched a counterattack in rural Latakia, trying to take the initiative from pro-regime forces that advanced on the area last autumn under Russian aerial cover. The rebels’ counteroffensive, dubbed “the Yarmouk Battle,” began late on Monday with a barrage of rocket and heavy artillery shelling on regime positions in Alakrad and Turkmen Mounts.
The rebel and FSA assault has been successful in the area near the Turkish border as rebel fighters announced they have captured the villages of Alqarmeel, Nahshaba, Mazghala, the Rasha hilltop, Ard Alwata, Alhakorah, Abu Ali hilltop, and Alqala’a hilltop.
Nearly 45 pro-regime militants were killed and many more injured in the ongoing clashes. Rebel fighters targeted a gathering of pro-regime militants near the town of Kansaba with a TOW missile. More pro-regime militants were killed and injured when a truck carrying them was hit with a TOW missile on Kansaba-Ain Alqantra road. Rebel fighters also destroyed a tank belonging to regime forces in Alakrad Mount. All of the tank’s crew members were killed.
The biggest rebel and FSA groups taking part in the offensive include the First and Second Coastal Divisions, Failaq Alsham, and Ahrar Alsham Movement.
A commander in the First Coastal Division told Smart News that the gains they have so far made in the ongoing counteroffensive will pave the way for lifting the siege imposed by regime forces on the Turkman Mount near the Turkish border. Those gains will also help prevent bombardment on the rebel-held areas east of Jisr Alshughour by regime forces positioned in the Turkman Mount, the commander said. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Smart News)