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Anas al-Kurdi

Rebels inch closer to the Syrian coast

Syrian rebels are within striking distance of the coastal regime stronghold, Latakia [AFP]

Date of publication: 26 April, 2015

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A Syrian opposition alliance has seized a strategically important town in Idlib, bringing the rebels closer to the regime stronghold of Latakia.
After three days of fighting, Syrian opposition fighters have captured the city of Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib province.

The joint offensive by the Islamist alliance, Jaish al-Fateh, and Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Nusra Front, brings the rebels within eight kilometres of the Syrian coast.

Opposition fighters say they captured 18 regime checkpoints before seizing the town, which left dozens of Syrian army soldiers dead, midway between the regime stronghold of Latakia and Syria's largest city, Aleppo.

Opposition figures say that the next targets are the few remaining pockets of the regime in Idlib province.

The group said that Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey when fighting broke out would be allowed back to their homes.

There were unconfirmed reports on social media that the group had also captured the military base of Qarmid.

The victory comes as the Geneva III negotiations approach, with reports that parties from the Islamic State group and al-Nusra Front have been invited to take part in negotiations.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

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