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For the first time in the five-month anti-Assad uprising, Syrian forces clashed with dissident Palestinians Sunday, Aug. 14, in the al-Raml a-Filistini district of Syria's biggest port Latakia. As they moved toward the town center, the two Syrian tank divisions and armored infantry were challenged by Palestinians firing heavy machine guns, anti-tank RPGs and roadside bombs. Nineteen of the 24 dead Sunday were Palestinians.
debkafile's military sources affirm that contrary to earlier reports, the Syrian missile ships cruising offshore took no part in the attack on Latakia. Their function is to blockade the port against arms smuggling. Nevertheless the weapons used by Palestinians fighting in Latakia Sunday came from Lebanon aboard smugglers' boats. There are almost daily incidents of Syrian ships firing on suspect vessels.