[QODLink]
Middle East

Assad troops recapture Syrian border town

Troops backed by Hezbollah fighters seize control of the rebel-held town of Rankous near the Lebanese border.

Last updated: 09 Apr 2014 10:48
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have recaptured the rebel-held Syrian border town of Rankous, military sources and state television say, consolidating their control over a former rebel supply line from neighbouring Lebanon.

The capture of Rankous was the latest stage of an offensive by the army and fighters from Lebanese Shia armed group Hezbollah to seal off the border region and secure the main highway leading north from Damascus towards central Syria, Homs, and the Mediterranean coast.

"Units of the Syrian army have now accomplished their operation in the Rankous area and restored security and stability after eliminating a large number of terrorists," Syrian state television said on Wednesday.

Wednesday's advance took place less than a month after Hezbollah and the Syrian army recaptured the rebel stronghold of Yabroud, choking off the vital supply line into central Syria.

Rankous is about 45 kilometres north of Damascus and was home to 20,000 people before the conflict in Syria began in March 2011.

Backed by Shia fighters from Hezbollah and Iraq as well as Russian weapons and Iranian military commanders, Assad has regained territory around Damascus and central Syria leading to the coastal strongholds of his Alawite minority.

The rebels still control a few smaller villages in the region, but have seen their supply lines across the border with Lebanon largely severed.

Rebel fighters still control most of eastern Syria and the north, and are fighting Assad's forces in north of the coastal province of Latakia.

246

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.