Syrian army retakes northern strategic town

Syrian forces enter an area in the town of Safira November 1, 2013.
Syrian forces enter an area in the town of Safira November 1, 2013.
Following several weeks of heavy fighting with militants, the Syrian army has taken full control of a strategic town near Aleppo in the north of the country.

According to the Syrian state television, Syrian government forces Friday, “after a series of strategic operations” took control of the town of Safira, southeast of Aleppo.

Syrian army forces killing scores of the Ahrar al-Sham militants and the al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), forced them to withdraw.

“The importance of this new success for our armed forces is due to its strategic importance at the eastern gates of Aleppo,” a spokesman for the Syrian army said in a televised statement.

Malek al-Kurdi, the deputy head of the Turkey-based so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) militant leadership said it was an important loss for them.

The retaking of Safira gives Syrian forces upper hand in sending medical and military supplies to nearby towns.

Safira is located near a chemical weapons site, one of two locations that experts from the joint United Nations and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were unable to inspect.

The chemical weapons facility itself has been under government control but emptied of equipment because of fighting nearby, according to the OPCW.

RA/SHI

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