Government attacks high ground in Latakia; opposition media displays prisoners

AUG24
Government and opposition forces battle for control of Sahl al- Ghab. In Latakia, rebel rocket crews now operate within range of the coastal regional capital.

 

On Monday, August 17, Syrian government and opposition forces continued to battle for control of al- Ghab plain. In the adjoining Latakia Governorate, rebel rocket crews now operated within range of the coastal capital. News broke of government gains the next day.

Meanwhile, Ahrar al- Sham forces had been attacking positions around Jabal Turkman, in the mountains northwest of Sahl al- Ghab.

Fighter wears GoPro while fighting in the mountains of Latakia.

The open plain provided little cover for government armor. Rebel ATGM crews were able to counter vehicles taking part in the assault.

The Knights of Justice Brigade destroys a government tank.

Government forces shelled Zeyzoun village, with loyalist sources claiming it captured. Rebel sources quickly declared that the government offensive already collapsed.

Moving into Wednesday, fighting continued in the Hama countryside. A variety of Islamist and FSA rebel groups reportedly engaged a mixed force of SAA, loyalist militias and Hezbollah. Fighting broke out around al- Msheek, al- Mansoura, Tal Wassit and al- Ziyarah, with claims of government victories.

Sham Legion captures loyalist.

Government forces operate heavy weapons around Sahl al- Ghab.

These positions remained contested the next day. Sham Legion captured another government soldier.

Hostilities drug on in hot-spots like al- Msheek and al- Mansoura. SAA armor continued to suffer from ATGM strikes from the high ground. Government jets were spotted over Jabal al- Akrad.

Free Syrian Army correspondent Abu Bara sat down with the government soldier captured the day before.

Al-Masadar News reported that Tiger Forces, NDF and armor contested Qarqur while fighting continued around al- Bahsa. More fighting went on over Zeyzoun power plant, as did reports of bombing and shelling.

Early Sunday morning saw the announcement of a new government offensive, this time towards to the high ground in the northwest. After acknowledgement of loyalist advances, Jabhat al- Nusra rushed to meet the government in Arafit.

The attack included a focus on the Prophet Younis Mountains. Present home of the FSA First Coastal Division and 10th Division, the high ground providing an excellent vantage point for rebel artillery operators. By the end of the day, the FSA groups appeared to retain their positions.

To the east on al- Ghab plain, Sham Legion pressured al- Msheek. Opposition correspondent Moaz al- Shami took a turn interviewing the government captive.

This morning, the First Coastal Division shelled the government with a variety of weapons. Jabhat al- Nusra released photos of weapons and identification allegedly taken from the loyalists assaulting Arafit.

For background on this topic, check out my writeup on the failed Zabadani, Fu’ah and Kafraya ceasefire. (Links from July 29 – August 17)

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