Syrian rebels recapture strategic village in Latakia
A strategically important village in the Syrian regime's heartlands has fallen to the opposition, days after Damascus-allied troops entered the town.
Dorien was the first rebel-held village to be captured by the regime during an offensive it began last week to flush opposition fighters out of the coastal Latakia province.
It is unclear whether the rebels have full control of Dorien, or if they retreated to Salma, a town to the north.
Opposition fighters have been in control of Salma, and the surrounding mountain ranges of Jebal al-Turkman and Jebal Akrad, since the early days of the uprising against the Syrian regime.
The area has been the scene of heavy fighting between the two groups and the most recent clashes left 32 Syrian troops dead, along with a number of opposition fighters, witnesses have said.
After capturing the village, sources say that the opposition forces withdrew again from the village, allegedly to avoid Dourin becoming a target for regime bombing.
"The 10th Brigade, the 1st Coastal Division, al-Nusra Front, Ansar al-Din, Sham al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham, and Ansar al-Sham attacked regime positions in Dourin," said Abu-Salem al-Hafawi, a Syrian activist.
"Within one hour, they managed to recapture the town and nearby mountains and withdrew after killing all the regime troops present in the area."
Hafawi said that opposition forces withdrew from the town under heavy covering fire, with opposition fighters positioned in posts above the village firing Grad missiles and shells.
Last week, a militia loyal to the regime, known as the Shabiha, regained control of Dourin, two years after it fell to the opposition.
Thursday's counter-offensive came after rebel militias united and launched a join military offensive on the regime-held village.
Another 30 Syrian regime troops were also reported to be killed yesterday during fighting with opposition fighters in Aleppo province.
Reports suggest that the opposition have launched an offensive on regime-held areas in Aleppo and captured the villages of al-Mallah and Handarat, allegedly breaking the regime's siege on the province.
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.