Syrian rebels fight army near Assad heartland

AMMAN - Islamist rebels and Syrian army troops on Thursday were engaged in heavy fighting in Syria's northwestern Latakia province in areas close to President Bashar Assad's ancestral home, the army and rebels said.
An army source told state news agency SANA fighter jets hit insurgent hideouts in the northern Latakia countryside with "tens killed and injured."
Rebels have in the past sought to bring their four-year-long battle to topple Assad's rule close to the coastal areas in government-held Latakia, the stronghold of Assad's minority Alawite sect. Latakia is the main port in Syria and crucial to the rebels goal of toppling Assad's government.
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