Moments ago, the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) 103rd Brigade of the Republican Guard – assisted by several Syrian paramilitaries – captured Bashura village in the northeastern countryside of Latakia governorate after government troops crossed a nearby river and subsequently stormed the area. The capture was heavily assisted by Russian airstrikes that struck insurgents of Jabhat al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army’s 1st Coastal Brigade.
A few weeks ago, the battlefield tides turned on the coast of Syria as local rebels suddenly saw themselves lose village after village including their former strongholds of Salma and Rabia. Effectively, government forces have advanced deep inside rebel territory that was previously held by opposition forces. Currently, just a few miles prevent the SAA from recapturing the Latakia-Turkish border and completely expelling local opposition forces to Jish al-Shigbour and Idlib further east.
Over the past 3½ years, the frontline in Latakia has been relatively static with both sides trading blows back and forth. However, primarily due to Russian airstrikes, reinforcements and a regional change of command, government troops have gradually pushed from Latakia to Idlib and advanced into areas previously thought to be impenetrable. Meanwhile, hundreds of rebels have retreated from Latakia province months ago to reinforce the southern Aleppo front line.