Syrian government troops retake Rabia, last rebel stronghold in Latakia

Story highlights

  • Rabia was the last major rebel stronghold in Syria's western province of Latakia
  • Engineers are now working to clear the area of mines left by retreating rebels, state media report

(CNN)Syrian government troops and allied militias regained control of the last major rebel-held stronghold in the western province of Latakia on Sunday, state-run SANA and a UK-based monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that over the last two days, Syria's military and loyalist militias, backed by Russian airpower, surrounded the rebel-held town of Rabia and took control of the surrounding villages.
Rabia is approximately 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the Turkish border in the province of Latakia -- a stronghold of support for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. The province is also home to Hmeymim airbase, a newly expanded airbase being used by Russian jets in support of the regime.
Syrian state media quoted a military source as saying that engineering units were combing the area to deactivate bombs and mines planted by the rebels.