Government retakes Alawite village in central Syria

BEIRUT Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:12am EST

1 of 3. Armoured military vehicles belonging to the Syrian army are seen in Talet Alghaliya, after they claimed to have regained control of the area February 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/George Ourfalian

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian government forces seized a village inhabited by President Bashar al-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.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-Assad monitoring group, said Islamist rebels had killed 20 civilians and at least 25 fighters from a pro-government National Defence Force militia when they first seized the village on February 9.

It was not possible to verify the reports independently due to restrictions on the media in Syria.

Rebels fighting to overthrow Assad are overwhelmingly from the country's Sunni Muslim majority, backed by Islamist and jihadi fighters from across the Islamic world.

More than 140,000 people, including civilians, rebel fighters and Assad's forces, have been killed in nearly three years of conflict.

The country's infrastructure has also suffered severe damage.

SANA reported on Tuesday that the northwestern provinces of Tartous, Hama, Latakia, Idlib and Aleppo had lost electricity following attacks on high-tension power lines.

The Electricity Ministry said it was working to secure alternative sources of energy while technicians completed repairs.

(Reporting By Stephen Kalin; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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Comments (4)
TruWorldPeace wrote:
God bless the Syrian Arab Army, may they eliminate the Western-backed Al Qaeda cannibals soon!!

Feb 18, 2014 8:03am EST  --  Report as abuse
vikingsales wrote:
Someone please give the Syrians nukes to stop the Israhell/US Zio invasion.
Its all about expansion of Israeli land mass and the gas/oil found off Syria.
Where are those WMD in Iraq again?
We just slaughtered Libya, a nation with a trade surplus, 93% literacy and a new water investment to end N African drought. All obliterated by the Zionist death machine.
God save Syria from these Marxist/Leninist/racist Jews.
Wake up sheeple.

Feb 18, 2014 2:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Inspired43 wrote:
“Rebels fighting to overthrow Assad are overwhelmingly from the country’s Sunni Muslim majority, backed by Islamist and jihadi fighters from across the Islamic world”

Syrian foreign minister, defense minister, vice president etc and most of the people in Syrian army are Sunnis…..

This is not Shia vs Sunni as Reuters is trying to make us believe. This is Syria vs Terrorism sponsored and supported by by Saudi, Qatar, USA, Turkey, Jordan etc;

Feb 24, 2014 10:12am EST  --  Report as abuse
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