Assad sends air force to prevent rebel advances in home province

BEIRUT - Warplanes bombed a village in Syria's north overnight in an apparent effort by President Bashar Assad to prevent rebels fighting him from advancing on communities in the stronghold region of his Alawite sect.
As many as 20 people were killed in the air strikes on the village of Salma, including 10 civilians, six Syrian fighters and four foreign fighters, the anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said on Saturday.
Salma is a Sunni village in the Jabal Akrad mountain range which overlooks the Mediterranean. Rebel forces comprised of mainly Islamist brigades, including two al-Qaida-linked groups and based in Salma, have killed hundreds in offensives this month and have seized several Alawite settlements.
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