DAMASCUS, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army is advancing on several fronts as part of its fresh wide-scale operation to wrest control over rebellious areas across the country, local media reported Wednesday.
The army now is breaking the siege on Wadi al-Daif encampments in northwestern Syria to secure the road between the central province of Hama and the northwestern province of Idlib all the way to Aleppo province, media reports said.
It also said that the road between the capital Damascus and the southern province of Daraa and the borders with Jordan is open, adding that the army is "cleansing" the road between Damascus and the central province of Homs in the areas of Jobar, al-Nabek and al-Qalamoun.
The operation has also included border areas near the Lebanese frontier, namely al-Qussair and Talkalakh.
The operation apparently aimed at securing network of routes connecting several Syrian areas as a prelude to besiege the rebels for decisive battles.
Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 12 civilians, including two women and two children, were killed by bombardment with rocket launchers on the al-Bweida al-Sharqiya town earlier on Wednesday.
It said three rebel fighters were killed during clashes with regular forces in the vicinity of the Abel town in the countryside of al-Qussair.
The Observatory also alleged that violent clashes broke out between regular forces and pro-government militants from one side and rebel fighters from the other in the perimeter of the towns of Abel, al-Bweida al-Sharqiya, Jousiya, Jobar, al-Dab'a, al- Sultaniya and al-Burhaniya. The clashes resulted in losses from both sides, the Observatory said.
It also claimed that fighters from the Lebanese Hezbollah were fighting alongside the government troops near al-Qussair.
Earlier in the day, an opposition activists in Homs told the Saudi-funded al-Arabiya TV that around 700 militants affiliated with Hezbollah were deployed to the Syrian town of al-Nazariyeh near al-Qussair in Homs.
Hezbollah has recently acknowledged that Shiite people living in villages between Syria and Lebanon have taken up arms to defend their areas against threats from the rebels Free Syrian Army, but the Shiite group has shrugged off allegations that it had sent manpower to back their Syrian ally, the government of President Bashar al-Assad.