Syrian Forces Clearing Rebels from Stronghold Near Lebanon - Source
March 16, 2014 8:00 PM EST
Syrian forces in Yabroud were in the final stages on Sunday of clearing out rebels holed up there for months and had begun dismantling roadside bombs laid by the militants, a military source told Reuters.
A view of a part of the town of Yabroud which is a major rebel bastion near the Lebanese border north of Damascus, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA.
Capturing Yabroud, the last major rebel bastion near the Lebanese border north of Damascus, would help President Bashar al-Assad secure the land route linking his Mediterranean coastal stronghold with the capital Damascus, and choke off a cross-border rebel supply line from Lebanon.
The source said most of the insurgents had pulled out of Yabroud around dawn, a day after pro-government forces had entered eastern districts of the town and captured several strategic hilltops.
A fighter in Yabroud from the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's official affiliate in Syria, confirmed to Reuters the rebels had decided to pull out and said they were heading towards nearby villages including Hosh Arab, Rankos and Fleita.
He said they did not plan to withdraw across the Lebanese border to Arsal, a crossing point 20 km (13 miles) to the northwest which rebels and refugees have used regularly.
The government has been making incremental gains along the land route as well as around Damascus and Aleppo in the past months, regaining the initiative in a conflict entering its fourth year.
More than 140,000 people have been killed in the increasingly sectarian civil war, which began with mass street protests against Assad but turned into an armed insurgency after a violent security crackdown on demonstrators.
Most Popular Slideshows
- NFL MNF: Pittsburgh Steelers 30, Houston Texans 23 [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MLB World Series Game 1: San Francisco Giants 7, Kansas City Royals 1 [PHOTOS]
- 2014 MLB World Series - Game 2: Kansas City Royals 7, San Francisco Giants 2 [PHOTOS]
- NFL Thursday Recap - Denver Broncos 35, San Diego Chargers 21: Peyton Manning Has 3 TDs In Easy Win [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Ebola Virus Might Reach Australia in Months; Health Dept Says Australia Prepared For Outbreak
- Woman, 40, Charged after Six Baby Corpses Found in Canada U-Haul Locker
- ISIS Educates Young Children in 'School of Jihad,' Deploys Them in Active Combat After Graduation [VIDEO]
- Seven Weird Things Banned by Governments
- Six English Words Which Originated From Arabic
- Xiaomi Redmi 1S vs. Sharp Aquos Crystal – Specifications, Features And Price Showdown
- ASUS Releases A Teaser Indicating The Arrival of New Zenfone and ZenWatch On October 28
- Boy Stoned To Death For Alleged Rape, Victim Receives Dowry From Militants
- Three Dual SIM Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Duos Variants Comes To China
- Russia is Creating Underwater Combat Robots to Protect its Arctic Territories
- ‘Lone Wolf’ Attack on Canada Parliament Hill Could be ISIS-Related
- Android Lollipop 5.0 Confirmed for Nov 3 Rollout as Nexus 6 Global Release Date is Delayed – Reports