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Syrian army advances on plain after rebel offensive: monitor

© Reuters. Fighters from a coalition of rebel groups called "Jaish al Fateh" man a checkpoint on Zeyzoun thermal station, in al-Ghab plain in the Hama countryside

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian army and allied militia have regained control over several northwestern villages from insurgents on a plain crucial for defending costal areas that Damascus holds, a group monitoring the war said on Saturday.

The military is battling insurgents including al Qaeda's Syria wing Nusra Front and the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham for control of Sahl al-Ghab, a plain that runs alongside the western coastal mountains as well as lying close to...