Syrian Army Steps Up Airstrikes Near Assad’s Ancestral Home

Army Vows to Keep al-Qaeda Forces From Taking Latakia Province

Syrian Army officials are reporting a considerable increase in airstrikes against Islamist rebel targets along the northwestern border with Turkey, centering on cutting off the supply lines of forces, led by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, moving against President Bashar al-Assad’s ancestral homeland.

Assad’s family comes from an area of Latakia Province dominated by the Alawite religious minority. This minority, of which Assad is a member, has been repeatedly targeted by the Sunni Islamists during the Syrian Civil War.

As with much of the civil war’s sectarian blood-letting the Islamist factions claim the religious minorities are being targeted for being pro-Assad, and those minorities are increasingly pro-Assad because they’re being so often targeted by the Islamists.

The army reported five villages in the area near the Turkish border have recent been retaken and they intend to push deeper into the area. Al-Qaeda talked up an advance against Latakia months ago, after seizing the Idlib Province, but has so far been stalled in the effort.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.