Syria army beefs up operations in Qalamoun

Syria army beefs up operations in Qalamoun
Sun Feb 2, 2014 10:56:10

The Syrian army has intensified its operations to clear militant hideouts in Rima farms in the strategic region of Qalamoun near the capital Damascus, reports say.

Syrian forces on Saturday launched new strikes to push back the foreign-backed militants who have been attempting for weeks to take control over a vital highway in the region.

Sporadic clashes happen regularly between the Syrian army and the militants in Rima farms near the highway that links the capital to the western city of Homs.

The army also continues operations in the town of Yabrud in Qalamoun, which hosts some of the most dangerous militant groups.

“Our mission is to clear Rima farms from terrorists, we monitor their movements and attack them,” a Syrian military commander said.

Following recent successful military operations in Qalamoun, the Syrian army is now in control of one-third of land stretching between the highway and Yabrud.

Militants regularly attempt to block the highway, which is the capital’s gateway to all cities in central and northern Syria.

However, the army units positioned in the region have foiled such attempts, making sure the route remains secure.

Several militants have been killed in the region during army operations in the towns of Rankus and Yabrud.

“The military operations continue in these farms (Rima). A majority of militants are foreigners. We killed many of them,” a military colonel mentioned.   

The proximity of Rankus and Yabrud to Lebanon has provided the militants with a major lifeline of weapons and forces.

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 -- support the militants operating inside the country.

More than 130,000 people have been killed and two million Syrians are expected to take refuge outside the country while another 2.25 million are predicted to be internally displaced in 2014.


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