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Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:39PM
Syrian army troops (file photo)

Syrian army troops (file photo)

The Syrian army has made more gains in its fight against foreign-backed militants in the country’s northwest. The Syrian soldiers succeeded in securing al-Dweireneh town, situated in east of the al-Nayrab airport in the city of Aleppo, on Tuesday. The Syrian forces also regained full control of Qara town in the strategic al-Qalamoun area on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. The foreign-backed militants use Qalamoun to enter Syria from Lebanon. The strategic town is nearly 100 kilometers north of Damascus, near the border with Lebanon. Reports say that several militants were killed in the clashes, which erupted on Friday, and terrorist al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and other militant groups fighting against the government have withdrawn from the town and areas around it. The Syrian army employed fighter jets and helicopters in the attacks to regain control of the area. The militant groups were in control of the area for more than a year. The regaining of Qara gives the Syrian army the full control of a ground route between the capital and coastal regions. On Monday, the Syrian troops stormed the militants’ hideouts and killed scores of them in the Damascus countryside. A large number of militants were also killed by the Syrian soldiers near Aleppo’s central prison. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million others displaced due to the violence. The UN also says more than four million other Syrians will be forced out of their homes in 2014 by the escalating conflict in the country. Two million Syrians are expected to take refuge outside the country while 2.25 million others are predicted to be internally displaced in the next year. MR/IA/MHB/AS
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