Government retakes Alawite village in central Syria

By REUTERS
February 18, 2014 12:05

 
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BEIRUT- Syrian government forces seized a village inhabited by President Bashar Assad's minority community from Islamist fighters in a central province on Tuesday, state media said.

Insurgents including fighters from Ahrar al-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa and other Islamist groups had taken control of the village of Maan in the central province of Hama a few days earlier.

Residents of Maan, around five miles east of Syria's main north-south highway, are from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam considered heretical by some hardline Islamists.

The army entered Maan "to eliminate the last group of terrorists who had infiltrated it and committed a massacre against its residents," Syria's state news agency SANA said, using its term for all rebels fighting Assad.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the most recent battle, but SANA said dozens of residents, mostly women and children, had been killed when the militants entered Maan earlier in the month.

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