BEIRUT — Syria's official news agency says the army has seized "full control" of a strategic rebel-held town in the northwestern province of Latakia, a stronghold of President Bashar Assad.

SANA says army units backed by pro-government militiamen from the National Defense Forces captured Salma on Tuesday.

Salma is in the mountains of Latakia province and is predominantly inhabited by members of Assad's minority Alawite sect.

The SANA report, which would mark a significant military victory for Syrian troops, could not be immediately confirmed. Opposition activists earlier reported fierce clashes between Syrian pro-government troops and insurgents in and around Salma.

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