Al-Qaeda Seizes Key Town Along Syrian Coast

Kansaba Long a Rebel Base Along Turkish Border

by Jason Ditz, July 01, 2016

Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and its allies have made a return to the Latakia Province for the first time in months, seizing the strategically valuable town of Kansaba, along the Turkish border and near the coastline of the Mediterranean.

Kansaba was one of the last rebel-held towns in Latakia to fall to the government, back in February, and was a valuable asset for the rebels before that, overlooking a broad part of the Turkish border, it has been a major way to smuggle arms and fighters into Syria.

Earlier this year, backed by Russian warplanes, Syria recovered the entire Latakia Province, and had started a buildup along the border of the neighboring Idlib, which is still entirely held by al-Qaeda. This represents a shift in momentum, and potentially a troubling from.

Al-Qaeda has been gaining territory in Aleppo Province as well, holding nearly half the city of Aleppo itself, and with this new push into Latakia looks to be reasserting itself as a top faction across northwestern Syria.

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