* Attack occurs near the northern port of Latakia – SANA
* Several gunmen, soldiers killed in firefight
* Suspected rebel arms shipment seized in Lebanon
* Moscow steps up criticism of anti-Assad militias (Updates with burials, Russia criticism)
A damaged armoured vehicle is seen in Homs April 27, 2012. The words on the tank read, “Just freedom”. Picture taken April 27. REUTERS/Khaled Tellawi/Shaam News Network/Handout
BEIRUT, April 28 (Reuters) – Gunmen in inflatable dinghies killed several security officials in an attack on a military unit on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, state media said on Saturday, the first seaborne assault reported during the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
The night raid, along with the killings of at least 15 people in violence in two areas near the capital, underlined the threadbare state of a U.N.-brokered ceasefire deal that has Western leaders talking of tougher steps to stop the bloodshed.
Russia, Damascus’ most powerful ally, stepped up its criticism of anti-Assad militias, condemning what it called “barbarous” attacks designed to scuttle the two-week-old truce engineered by U.N.-Arab League mediator Kofi Annan.
Syria’s official SANA news agency said several gunmen and soldiers died in fighting that followed the coastal attack near the northern port of Latakia, 35 km (22 miles) south of the Turkish border.
“The fighting … resulted in the death and wounding of a number of military personnel while the number of those killed from the terrorist group was not known because they attacked the military unit at night,” SANA said.
It did not state the nationality of the attackers.
Damascus has accused Turkey of allowing weapons and funds to flow to insurgents throughout the 13-month-old uprising, the latest in a wave of revolts against rulers across the Arab world. Turkey also plays host to the leadership of the rebel Free Syrian Army.
Lebanese authorities found weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and rifles on board a ship intercepted in the Mediterranean which may have been trying to supply Syrian insurgents, security sources said.