Clashes in northwestern Syria between pro-regime and opposition groups have reportedly caused at least 18 fatalities and wounded 17 others on Monday, August 3. The clashes took part in Latakia governorate, and involved fighters belonging to the opposition Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) alliance and Syrian Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers. Regime forces reportedly attempted to advance into the Tal Al-Haddadah area of Jabal Al-Akrad, but were ambushed by HTS forces and were forced to retreat. Opposition forces carried out an intensive bombardment on regime positions following the attack. The Syrian Observatory for Human rights has reported that 12 regime soldiers were killed during the course of the clashes, with a further 17 injured. At least four members of HTS were killed, alongside two members of the allied National Liberation Front.
The clashes come despite a Russian-backed ceasefire being in place, which has had some success in reducing violence in northwestern Syria since it was agreed upon in March. However, further clashes in northwestern Syria are likely in the near to medium term.
The Syrian Civil War - which began in 2011 - involves many parties, including the Syrian government, the Russian government, the Iranian government, the Turkish government, a US-led coalition, and numerous armed groups on the ground (including the Islamic State) with competing goals.
Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country completely. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.
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