Al Qaeda affiliate, the Nusra Front has taken over all of the Idlib province. The area lies on Syria's border with Turkey and is adjacent to the regime-controlled Latakia region.
A coalition of Syrian militias led by the Nusra Front took control of the city of Ariha in the country's northwest, the last stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad's regime in the Idlib province.
"There are heavy clashes between the army and the terrorists of Jabahat al Nusra who infiltrated inside the city," the army said in a statement on television.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the news, referring to the coalition of Nusra Front and other rebels. "Jaish al Fatah [the Army of Conquest] took full control of the city of Ariha, which is located at the southern sector of the city of Idlib, in addition to the towns of Kafyre and al Foua and the Abu al Dohour military airport," the observatory said.
Ariha was the last government-controlled city in Idlib,on Syria's border with Turkey and was located on the main army supply lines between Idlib and Latakia, controlled by the regime and President Bashar al-Assad's home.
The Nusra Front is affiliated to al Qaeda and is a major force against President Bashar al-Assad's army in the northern city of Aleppo. Its fighters have occupied several parts of the country's south and frequently clash with the Islamic State.
Assad accuses Turkey of financing and aiding rebels seeking to topple the government.
mg/bw (AFP, Reuters)