Syrian army kills group of Takfiri militants in Latakia
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Syrian forces have killed a group of Takfiri militants, mostly foreign mercenaries, in the coastal city of Latakia. According to a Syrian security source, the army troops killed a group of extremist militants in the village of Dourin, which is located in a suburb of Latakia, Syria's official news agency SANA reported on Thursday. There were a number of Libyan and Moroccan nationals among those killed during heavy clashes with the Syrian soldiers, the source said. SANA added that the Syrian army has identified a militant commander, called Ahmad Namoureh, among the dead. He was the leader of the so-called Asoud Jableh Battalion. The Syrian army also launched similar attacks against militants in the provinces of Aleppo, Homs and Idlib. Over the past weeks, the Syrian army has managed to inflict major losses on anti-Damascus armed groups. The army has also conducted successful clean-up operations across the country. In late July, Syrian troops liberated the key district of Khaldiyeh in the western city of Homs after weeks of clashes with militants. It was the second victory of the Syrian army since June, when it captured the militant-held town of Qusayr in Homs. Syria has been gripped by deadly turmoil since 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence. Reports indicate that Western powers and their regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the militants operating inside the country. President Bashar al-Assad said on August 5 that Syria will strike terror "with an iron fist."