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Loyalist Militias Clash as Lattakia Families Vie for Influence

Recent clashes between Alawite clans on Syrian coastal city follow disputes around property and oil drilling, says journalist
Loyalist Militias Clash as Lattakia Families Vie for Influence

Disorder prevails in the province of Lattakia as looting, kidnappings, killings and clashes between the militias of powerful Alawite families, such as the Ismail and Assad clans, continue to rise.

According to journalist Saleem al-Omar, residents of the pro-regime 7th April neighborhood in Lattakia experienced a “real war” when violent clashes broke out recently, resulting in the deaths of a number of militia fighters. Omar explained to al-Souria Net that a fight broke out between members from Assad family and the Ismail family due to competition of influence within Lattakia’s neighborhoods, following the emergence of oil drilling in the area.

Omar reported from residents in the neighboring disctrict of al-Mashahir that several militants launched an attack on one of the buildings in the 7th April neighborhood.

The journalist stated that although the 7th April neighborhood is predominantly inhabited by pro-regime Alawites, this was not a guarantor to stop the clashes, which lasted for nearly 3 hours. "Several civilians were killed, and the roads leading to the neighborhood were closed until early morning hours", Omar added.

Oil drilling operations had begun in the neighborhood over the past month, raising concerns over how the state apparatus searches for oil and gas inside the neighborhoods of Lattakia.

According to a police source, the attackers were pro-Assad shabeeha fighters wanting to confiscate a property owned by the Ismail family.

Activists from Lattakia said the incident was not the first of its kind in the city, expecting such confrontations to be repeated in the coming days, especially in the absence of any security role from the regime. According to Omar, one resident described the arrival of the security forces to the neighborhood as "a scene from an American film, where the police arrive at the end, after everything is over".

Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer

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