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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

At least 27 regime fighters killed in northwestern Syria, monitor says

Another 40 pro-regime fighters were wounded and six rebels were killed

A woman holds a Syrian flag in Deraa, Syria, July 4, 2018. Reuters
A woman holds a Syrian flag in Deraa, Syria, July 4, 2018. Reuters

At least 27 pro-government fighters were killed in northwestern Syria overnight, a war monitor said on Tuesday.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that a joint attack by rebels and Islamist forces targeted two villages and observation points in the coastal province and regime stronghold of Latakia, near the Turkish border

"At least 27 regime forces and allied fighters, including eight officers, were killed in fierce clashes and shelling in the village of Al Ateira," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

"They took Al Ateira and kicked out regime forces from several observation points after killing or wounding them."

He said that another 40 government loyalists were injured and six rebels were killed.

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The death toll made the attack the bloodiest opposition assault on the area in three years, according to the Observatory.

Al Ateira lies about two kilometres south of the Turkish border.

TheObservatory said the opposition fighters included local rebels from Latakia as well as more hardline forces.

Latakia is a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and is home to the Hmeimim airbase, where Russian troops and warplanes have been based since 2015.

But forces opposed to Mr Assad have repeatedly attacked the province since the uprising broke out in March 2011. They hold a northeastern sliver of territory bordering the neighbouring province of Idlib.

That area falls under a de-escalation deal agreed last year between Russia, fellow regime backer Iran, and rebel ally Turkey.