Officers carry a picture of Hilal al-Assad, a cousin of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, during his funeral at a hospital in Lattakia city March 24, 2014, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA. (REUTERS/SANA)
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Syrian rebels have launched a fierce offensive against President Bashar Assad's troops in four northern provinces in a bid to reverse a string of defeats, an activist group and rebels said Monday.The takeover came even as the air force bombarded rebel positions in Kasab, in Latakia province, the heartland of Assad's Alawite sect, a day after Turkey shot down a Syrian warplane in the area.It added that the regime was sending reinforcements to the area.The rebel assault has also focused on Latakia, Idlib and Aleppo provinces, as well as in the north and west of Hama province.In the Hama town of Morek, which lies on a key supply route linking the center of Syria to Aleppo, rebels have fought off repeated attempts by the army to break through their lines, the Observatory said.Rebels say the advances are connected.
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