Syrian troops capture Salma after three years

Syrian troops capture Salma after three years

Syrian troops and allied militiamen on Wednesday expanded their area of control around a major insurgent stronghold in the northwestern province of Latakia, a day after seizing a key rebel-held town in the region, the government and opposition activists said.

The insurgents in the opposition-held area known as Jabal al-Akrad were collapsing after the key town of Salma fell to government loyalists late Tuesday. Salma’s fall marked one of the most significant military achievements by the Syrian military since Russia began airstrikes in the country last September to shore up President Bashar Assad’s forces.

On Wednesday, government troops seized the villages of Mrouniyah and Marj Kawkah near Salma as they continued their advances in the region, aided by intense Russian airstrikes.

Salma, a strategic town in the Latakia mountains that has been under rebel control for the past three years, was captured by army units backed by pro-government militiamen on Tuesday, dealing a severe blow to insurgents.

The town had once been predominantly inhabited by members of Assad’s Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Read more

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