A demonstrator holds a placard during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at Kfr Suseh area in Damascus.

At least 20 Syrian soldiers were killed on Wednesday in fierce clashes with rebel fighters in the northwestern province of Latakia, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based watchdog said five rebels were also killed in the clashes that began late on Tuesday and continued through dawn on Wednesday in a region known as the Kurdish Mountain near the border with Turkey.

“The majority died in direct fighting with the rebels, while other soldiers were killed in a rebel attack on two buildings, which the army was using to launch mortar attacks against the Kurdish Mountain,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Dozens of soldiers were also wounded, Abdel Rahman said.

“A number of soldiers, including an officer, were captured by the rebels, who also took their weapons,” he added. - Sapa-AFP