February 16, 2015
By Brent Eng and Batool Hajjar
AMMAN: Ahrar a-Sham and allied rebel forces launched eight Grad missiles against military targets in the city of Latakia on Monday as part of a wider opposition response to the regime’s ongoing aerial campaign on Douma in the Damascus suburbs, reported the pro-opposition Salma Media Center.
The rebels also cited a regime air raid Sunday against the rebel-controlled Sunni village of Najiya that killed 23 civilians as prompting the attack on Latakia.
“In response to the regime massacres in Douma and [the village of] Najiya Sunday, rebels led by Jabha a-Shamiyya members Ahar a-Sham and Suqour a-Sham targeted shabiha [pro-regime militia] strongholds,” said the Media Center.
Suqour a-Sham prepares its Grad missiles on Sunday. Photo courtesy of @shamfalcons.
Meanwhile, the air raid on Najiya destroyed a local market and struck a number of residential areas, said the pro-regime Al-Bahuliya News Network.
Latakia-based journalist Saleem al-Umar told Syria Direct on Monday that in addition to the market, 10 homes were destroyed in the air raid, but that no rebel forces had been targeted.
“The opposition had no military presence in the village [targeted by regime warplanes],” he said. The village is known locally as a prominent trade center, he added.
Najiya is located in eastern Latakia on the border with Idlib province, where rebel groups such as Jabha a-Shamiyya and Jabhat a-Nusra have a strong presence.
Last week, Jaish al-Islam, also part of al-Jabha a-Shamiyya, launched a military campaign against the pro-regime Shiite town of Fuwaa in Idlib province and dedicated its attack to the civilian casualties in Douma.
Jaish al-Islam is the dominant military power in Douma.
The regime has escalated its aerial attacks on Douma and the rest of East Ghouta in the past three weeks, killing dozens of civilians.
In response, Jaish al-Islam fired rockets into Damascus city.
The regime controls most of Latakia province, with the exception of small pockets in the center that rebels have used to bomb Latakia city.
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