Islamist rebels recaptured the strategic village of Dorien in coastal Lattakia province on Wednesday, days after the area was seized by Syrian regime forces, activists said.
Fighters of Ahrar al-Sham movement and the Nusra Front, backed by rebel factions, launched a surprise attack to recapture the village in hours, achieving one of the fastest gains in months, activists reported.
According to al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper, the rebels’ retreat from Dorien days ago was necessary to save the lives of fighters and allow them to regroup behind a stronger line of defense in Salma town.
Aqeel Juma, commander of the FSA's Nasr Brigade, told al-Araby al-Jadeed that "Dorien didn't fall in a day, but over the course of two years of heavy bombardment and an exhaustion of resources.”
The balance of power in the coastal region will shift in the next couple of days, he predicted, with the FSA and other opposition groups shifting their tactics to "unconventional warfare".
A similar strategy led to the rebels' success in Lattakia during the early days of the war, and Juma believes this approach will help the opposition capture more land in the regime's heartland.
Syria's war has killed currently more than 210,000 people, forcing half the population to flee their homes.