Syrian rebels, army clash over coastal town amid rebel push in Latakia province

Syrian activists say rebels and government forces are clashing over another coastal town in Latakia province, as opposition fighters slowly press their advance in the area.

Wednesday's fighting for the town of Qastal Maaf comes after rebels in recent days seized the Kassab town and border crossing with Turkey, as well as a small strip of the coast nearby — their first access to the sea since the Syrian conflicted erupted three years ago.

An activist in Latakia who only identified himself as Mohammed, fearing for his safety, says rebels hope that seizing Qastal Maaf will draw more Syrian soldiers to the area, relieving some pressure on rebels routed elsewhere.

Rami Abdurrahman of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed the information.