Battles between pro and anti-regime fighters in the coastal town of Latakia in Syria left at least 30 dead on Sunday, Reuters reported.
The anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 12 rebels and 19 pro-Assad fighters were killed in the Jabal Akrad mountains in eastern Latakia. It said the pro-regime gunmen included members of a militia known as the National Defence Army, as well as regular soldiers.
A source inside the port town said the clashes broke out at dawn and that the opposition fighters, who were based in the town of Salma, attacked 10 Alawite villages, Reuters said.
Reuters reported that video footage showed fighters apparently from an al-Qaeda linked Islamist group on the roof of an army tower in the Alawite village of Barouda.
Latakia, which is majority Alawite, is a key strategic town as it offers access to the coast.
Civilians moved out of the mountain region to Latakia city on Sunday, Al-Jazeera reported.