Fighting in the coastal mountains of Syria’s Latakia Province continue today, with reports that the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has captured four Alawite villages and detained some 400 civilians from those villages, along with an unknown number of “gunmen” contesting the rebel takeover.
Exactly what’s going to happen to the captives remains to be seen, with the statement saying they were taken to “a safe place” and are “under the protection of the Free Syrian Army.” Given the ugly sectarian nature of Syria’s Civil War, that’s not a safe place to be.
The overall death toll is said to be 52 at this point, with 20 rebels among the slain, and 32 others described as either soldiers or members of pro-Assad militias, in contesting control of the villages.
The fighting reflects the growing efforts on both sides at sectarian cleansing of their respective regions. As it continues, more and more Alawites will likely flee deeper into Assad-held territory rather than risk being captured by rebel factions where their religion is treated as de facto guilt for supporting Assad.