In all, about 30 people were reported killed in Latakia, with a
population of 650,000. The opposition said the naval assault, which
continued into Aug. 15, was combined
with the deployment of at least 20 T-62 main battle tanks, particularly in
the Ramleh district of Latakia.
"Large numbers of residents, especially women and children, fled,"
Syrian Observatory said.
In a statement on Aug. 14, the human rights group, based in Britain, did
not identify the Navy vessels, Middle East Newsline reported. But opposition sources said this marked the
first time that the navy was used by Assad to quell the growing revolt in
Syria, which began in March.
Syria has an aging navy based on Russian-origin surface vessels. They
included eight Ossa-2 missile fast patrol boats and eight Zhuk-class patrol
The Navy has been deployed in bases in Latakia and Tartous. The Russian
Navy has been granted docking rights and was expanding the port in Tartous.
Iran was also said to have agreed to finance the construction of a
military base in Latakia. On Aug. 13, Britain's Telegraph newspaper said the
$23 million agreement was signed in June and meant to complete the
military port by 2013.
The Assad regime has also been attacking suburbs of Damascus that have
joined the revolt. Syrian Army and security units, backed by the
Alawite-aligned Shabiha militia, stormed Hamriya and Saqba and severed
"The security forces entered Saqba and Hamriya in great numbers and
launched a campaign of arrests," Syrian Observatory said. "Gunfire was heard
in both suburbs."