Syrian forces on verge of liberating Yabroud

Syrian forces on verge of liberating Yabroud
Sat Mar 15, 2014 15:30:43

Syrian army soldiers have entered eastern districts of the key town of Yabroud, the last bastion of foreign-backed insurgents near the Lebanese border north of Damascus, and advanced towards the town main street.

Beirut-based al-Mayadeen TV network broadcast footage of Syrian advance in the border town on Saturday, showing soldiers charging through a field towards an arched entrance of the town and a sign saying "Welcome to Yabroud."

Gunfire could be heard while Syrian soldiers made their advance through the strategic town that served as the insurgent’s key supply channel.

Capturing Yabroud would allow Syrian government forces to choke off a cross-border supply line of the foreign-backed militants from Lebanon.

The town is near the highway linking Damascus to the country’s former commercial hub of Aleppo in the north and to the Mediterranean coast in the west.

According to local reports, heavy fighting was continuing between Syrian troops and anti-Damascus insurgent factions, including the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), both widely regarded as extremist terrorist groups that routinely commit atrocities in area under their control.

Thousands of people have fled Yabroud, a town of about 40,000 to 50,000 people roughly 60 kilometers north of Damascus, and the surrounding areas after it was shelled last month ahead of the government offensive.

Syrian forces have been making steady gains against the foreign-backed militants along the highway as well as around Damascus and Aleppo in recent months, regaining the initiative in a destructive insurgency campaign that entered its fourth year this month.

This is while a senior al-Nusra commander was reported killed late Friday on the outskirts of Yabroud during shelling and clashes with Syrian army units backed by fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement.

The insurgent commander, identified as Abu Azzam al-Kuwaiti, was the deputy leader of al-Nusra in Qalamoun, the mountainous zone between Damascus and the Lebanese border, where Yabroud is located.

An estimated 130,000 people are believed to have died during the foreign-sponsored Syrian insurgency campaign over the past three years. Millions have also been displaced due to the destructive crisis.


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