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Damascus-Homs highway reopens after 5 years as Syria army makes more gains

The pictured shows vehicles passing the highway linking the Syrian capital, Damascus, to the Homs Province, on May 15, 2018.(Photo by SANA news agency)

A strategic highway linking the Syrian capital, Damascus, to Homs Province has reopened following a five-year shutdown due to the terrorists’ grip on its surrounding areas, Press TV reports.

The international highway was opened to public traffic after its reconstruction was completed.

The rehabilitation of the road was made possible last month, following the liberation of the Eastern Ghouta region near the capital, Damascus.

Since 2013, the highway had been completely out of service because of the presence of Takfiri terrorists in the areas overlooking the road and their indiscriminate attacks on passing vehicles and Syrian army checkpoints.

The reopening of the highway also shortened the travel time between Damascus and Homs.

In comments to Press TV, a Syrian national, who lives in al-Wafideen refugee camp, described the opening of the highway as “a new victory” for the Syrian army.

“We had difficulty reaching Damascus, now it only takes seven minutes for me to return home,” he added.

A Syrian military officer told Press TV, “Thanks to the Syrian army and allied forces, who defeated the terrorists in [the cities of] Harasta and Douma, now the way is open.”

The extension of the road from Homs to Hama Province is also being rehabilitated amid the Syrian army advances against militants in Hama countryside.

“There used to be lots of piles of dirt and burnt vehicles on the road, as well as passages dug over and under the roadbed. In the past few weeks, we’ve repaired the entire road, removed the damaged road surface, and repaved it with tar asphalt. We’ve also cleared the obstacles from the road surface,” Mahmoud Alsoufi, a road engineer, was cited as saying by Reuters.

A driver also said, “I came from Hama. In the past, to get to Damascus you certainly couldn’t take this road. Instead, you had to take other small roads which took four to four and a half hours. Now, it only takes an hour or 45 minutes.”

Takfiri terrorists have lost much of the territory they once held in Syria amid sweeping gains by government forces on the ground.

In April, Syrian forces managed to retake the Eastern Ghouta and Eastern Qalamoun regions near the capital.

For years, the areas had served as a launch pad for deadly terror attacks against civilians in Damascus.

Syrian forces later moved to liberate other militant-held areas in the provinces of Homs and Hama.

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