Syrian government forces squeeze rebels in coastal province near Turkish border

Syrian activists and pro-government media say forces loyal to President Bashar Assad are advancing in heavy fighting in a coastal province near the Turkish border.

The director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdurrahman, says the military captured the seaside village of Samra in Latakia province Sunday with the support of fighters from the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group.

He says pro-government forces are now fighting Islamic rebel factions in the nearby village of Kassab, which is also near a border crossing with Turkey.

Syria's pro-government Al-Ikhbariya TV says troops "restored security and stability" to the Kassab area, but did not provide details.

Rebels launched an offensive in March in Latakia, which is the ancestral home of Assad's family and a stronghold of his Alawite sect.