More than 50 regime soldiers and Islamist fighters were killed as they battled over a strategic hilltop in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's home province, a monitoring group said on Thursday.
Government forces clashed with Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants backed by other armed Islamist groups in a village in Latakia province in the northwest.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting broke out Wednesday and raged through the night in Jabal al-Akrad district, a rare rebel stronghold in the province, which is the heartland of the ruling Assad clan.
Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front and its allies were seeking to recapture the village of Dourine, which overlooks their positions in one of the district's main towns, Salma.
They lost the village to Assad's forces last week after holding it for more than year.