Opposition fighters in the Syrian town of Zabadani have surrendered after intense fighting with regime troops, losing their last stronghold along Lebanon’s border.
The Syrian army was now in near total control of the Qalamoun region, west of Damascus.
Iran’s Al Alam TV broadcast pictures of dozens of opposition fighters reportedly handing themselves over to the Syrian authorities.
Rebels did not deny losing the town, located 30 kilometers northwest of Damascus. Opposition activists say the armed men had no other choice but to surrender.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, opposition activist Tayem al-Qalamouni said: “The fighters were forced to accept the truce because supply lines were cut. There was no safe corridor for civilians.”
“The area has been sealed off by the Syrian army on one side and the Lebanese army and militias on the other side.”
Government forces, with the help of Lebanon’s Shia armed movement Hezbollah, took control of Yabroud, Nabk, Ras al-Ayn, Rankos and other towns and cities in the Qalamoun region over the past few weeks.
Following the recent advances, the government has now opened the Damascus-Homs highway that leads to President Bashar al-Assad’s stronghold along the coast.