Syrian troops clashed with Islamist rebels in President Bashar al-Assad’s heartland of Latakia province Thursday, Reuters reports.
Fighter jets hit rebel positions close to Assad’s ancestral home, the country’s state news agency SANA confirmed.
Rebel sources said battles took place close to some of Syria’s highest peaks including Nabi Younis.
“The capture of the peaks would make the Alawite villages in our firing range," a rebel commander based in Idlib told Reuters.
Rebels have continuously tried to topple the Latakia province since the Syrian war began four years ago.
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