Syria regime advances in northwest ahead of peace talks

Syrian pro-government forces adjust a man-portable anti-tank system (MANPAT) as they hold a position in the Hatabat al-Bab area, on January 24, 2016, during a military operation against Islamic State (IS) group jihadistsPro-government forces overran the last major rebel-held town in Syria’s coastal Latakia province Sunday, as the United Nations prepares to host talks on ending the country’s nearly five-year war. It was the second strategic victory for pro-regime forces in Latakia in less than two weeks, after they seized the town of Salma on January 12. “In the coming weeks, we will be able to announce that all of Latakia — city and province — is free from armed groups,” an army commander in Latakia told AFP.

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