More rebel-regime fighting reported in Syria's Latakia province
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that opposition and regime fighters clashed in another part of Latakia province only days after continuous fighting near the Kasab border crossing.
Latakia, which is the heartland of the Assad family and his Alawite sect, has been a government stronghold since the beginning of the civil war three years ago. It is only in recent weeks that rebels have re-emerged in the area to challenge the regime rule.
Some activists have suggested that the new rebel offensive is designed to relieve pressure from opposition forces elsewhere in the country, with the idea that regime forces will "rush in" to Latakia from elsewhere to ensure it remains a government stronghold.
"The thinking is to open a battle that will make the regime rush to fight,"said AP's activist source who identified himself as Mohammed Abu Al Hassan. "The regime can't imagine losing the sea (of Latakia). They will bring reinforcements, and that will lessen the pressure (elsewhere)."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed the fighting Wednesday, but government sources have not yet released any information.
Qastal Maaf is approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the Kasab border crossing, where rebel ans regime soldiers fought for four straigh days, leaving dozens killed and many more wounded.