Damascus: The Syrian army has killed more than 50 rebels in the countryside of the coastal city of Latakia in northern Syria, the official Syrian TV said on Tuesday.

The military targeted the rebels’ positions in the towns of Dwerashan, Darra and Rbaia in the northern countryside of Latakia, the TV reported.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based watchdog group, said the rebel militants targeted government troops’ positions in northern Latakia with mortar shells, while the military units responded by shelling the rebel-held town of Salma near Latakia, with no reports about losses yet.

There has been incessant fighting in the northern countryside of Latakia since the rebels in the northwestern province of Idlib captured areas adjacent to the coastal city, the hometown of President Bashar al-Assad and the heartland of his Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam, Xinhua news agency reported.

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