Rebels capture slice of coast at a-Samara in Latakia
March 26, 2014
SEA VIEWS: Rebels filmed themselves wading into the Mediterranean Sea Tuesday after capturing the slice of coastline at the village of a-Samara in northern Latakia province on Syria’s northern border with Turkey.
The advance comes days after rebels, led by the Islamic Front’s Ahrar a-Sham, Jabhat a-Nusra, Ansar a-Sham and newly formed Legion of the Sham, seized the border crossing between Syrian and Turkey at the town of Kasab on Friday, in a battle they title “al-Anfal.”
“A-Samara was liberated, so that we have an access point by sea, [as was] Tower 45, and it is the highest point on Jebel a-Turkman,” said Abu Feisal, the head of the pro-opposition Latakia Local Coordination Committees. “As of now, these are our most important achievements and most important liberated territories.”
Pro-government newspaper al-Watan denied that rebels had seized a-Samara Wednesday, adding they had been unable to gain any ground in Kasab as the battle continues “at full strength.” The newspaper cited sources claiming government troops had killed 500 “terrorists,” since the beginning of the battle, “the majority of whom are Saudi or Chechen.”
On Tuesday, pro-opposition Latakia News Network reported rebels had seized a number of buildings in the town of Qastel Ma’af, fifteen kilometers south of Kasab, forcing regime troops to withdraw from the town as the battle continues.
Also Tuesday, rebels in the town of al-Qadsiya targeted government headquarters “filled with Hezbollah troops” in the town of Kafriya, on the highway between Aleppo and Latakia near the city of Idlib, some 60 kilometers southeast of Kasab.
Rebels last controlled a slice of Syria’s western coast, the historic homeland of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite sect, in August 2013.
-By Osama Abu Zeid and Elizabeth Parker-Magyar on March 26, 2014