Syrian army steps away from retaking strategic Qalamoun area

Syrian army steps away from retaking strategic Qalamoun area
Thu Feb 20, 2014 20:02:43

Syrian army is improving strongly in the Qalamoun strategic region, near Lebanese border, with heavy clashes going on between army units and militants mainly from al-Nusra Front.

Yahya Suleiman, a Syrian veteran military commander, told Al-Alam correspondent in Syria that, the army has engaged in an all-out operation in the area, but their main focus is on the town of Yabroud.

Qalamoun is an important supply route for the militants to receive weapons from their foreign supporters and is also a main base for the armed groups in their attacks on capital, Damascus.

Suleiman said the army was also improving in Douma, Harasta and Ghouta to expand the secure ring around capital.

The militants fighting against the Syrian army in Qalamoun are mainly from al-Qaeda’s main force on the ground, the al-Nusra front, as well as other extremist groups allied with them. 

According to reports the army is close to retake Yabroud from militant forces.

On Thursday, Syria's Al-Watan newspaper said the "army is advancing around the town and is ready to take control."

A security source told AFP the plan was to advance on all sides of the town "until it is taken completely."

Yabroud was once home to some 30,000 residents.

It has been a militant stronghold since early in the war that began in March 2011, and is now the only key town remaining under militant control in the Qalamun region after the national Syrian army’s victory in Qusayr, last year.


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