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Russian Air Power to Rescue Regime Forces in Lattakia | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russian Su-34 bombers, Su-27 fighters and MiG-29 fighters fly in formation above Red Square during the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2015. Reuters

Beirut- Russian airpower caught up with Lattakia’s rural area battles. The air campaign got involved two days after Bashar al-Assad regime forces and the Russia-backed Suqur al-Sahara Brigade, otherwise known as Desert Hawks Brigade, faced devastating battle zone defeat. Syrian Opposition forces advanced, renewing battles at the northern Kurd Mountains.

A Syrian Opposition source told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that Russian air force had made a strong return to battles, weighing in to northern Lattakia battles, once again, after having retreated.

The source added that the air campaign resumed participation after regime forces having suffered overwhelming losses against an opposition offensive.

“Regime forces continue to dramatically drawback from the Kurd Mountain,” the source added.

Last winter and before Moscow and Washington arrived to an agreement concerning a truce in Syria, Regime forces had taken over opposition strongholds nestled in the Kurds Mountains.

At the time, Assad forces gradually advanced reaching far into the area overlooking Jisr al-Shughur city located in the Idlib Governorate in northwestern Syria. However, regime forces have been losing territory as of last Thursday, as the ‘Yarmouk’ offensive was launched.

Encompassing Syrian Kurd topography in northern Lattakia, Syrian Opposition factions last Thursday engaged in an offensive against Assad regime forces, the battle is referred to as the “Battle of Yarmouk.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that violent clashes between opposition and regime forces continue. According to the reports, both Syrian and foreign militants partake in the Yarmouk battles.

The northern Syrian Lattakia fire line, where the Yarmouk offensive takes place, witnesses a series of fierce clashes, as extensive rounds of fire are exchanged between regime-supporting militias on one hand and Ahrar al-Sham,1st Coastal Division, Ansar al-Sham, 2nd Coastal division, Army of Conquest, Turkistan Islamic Party and al-Nusra Front on the other.

Many other Syrian Opposition factions were reportedly involved in the battles as well. Battles reportedly cost regime forces numerous deaths of high-end officials.

Opposition forces aim to stretch as far as Salma, a village in northwestern Syria.
Salma was an opposition stronghold taken over by regime forces last January by virtue of Russian air-backing.

Army of Conquest’s notorious leader Abdullah al-Mohseni vowed that his followers would spend the next Muslim holiday, Eid al-Fitr, in Salma. He also confirmed that his forces have restored full control over previously regime-held zones.

Most of the territory secured by regime forces was initially put under control with the help of Russia’s air campaign.

On the other hand, the observatory also reported violent clashes breaking Saturday midnight across the northern Aleppo axis. Most battles feature three counterparties: regime forces, Syrian Opposition forces and extremist Islamist militias.

Opposition sources denied rumors on regime forces taking control over the Handarat camp at Aleppo’s northern gate, and stated that the camp remains under opposition control. The sources added that opposition factions currently successfully avert all regime-staged offensives.