DAMASCUS, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army's successive victories in towns on the borders with Lebanon have effectively restrained the rebels' movement and ability to smuggle fighters and arms from Lebanon, local experts and reports said on Friday.
The Syrian army has recently waged wide-scale offensives in the central province of Homs and the al-Qalamoun rugged region in the northern countryside of the capital Damascus to isolate the rebels from their supply lines in neighboring Lebanon to cut off the rebels' illegal smuggling routes from neighboring Lebanon.
The latest sweeping victory was in the key town of al-Husn where the Syrian troops, backed by paramilitary National Defense Forces, recaptured the town and its 900-year-old castle in the Talkalakh area of Homs on Thursday. The Syrian army said that its troops also restored security in other towns surrounding al-Husn.
The victory in al-Husn has ended the rebels' existence in the western countryside of Homs and isolated that central province from illegal smuggling routes of weapons and armed men from neighboring Lebanon, local experts said.
Reports said the army had ambushed 40 rebels while trying to escape al-Husn into Lebanon's Wadi Khaled area, adding that the commander of the Islamist Jund al-Sham battalion was killed by the army's operation in that town.
The militant groups have used the hills of al-Husn to infiltrate from Lebanon. The a-Husn Castle was the last stronghold for the rebels in the town and the whole western countryside of Homs.
The castle overlooks the Christian-dominated Wadi al-Nasara town as well as large swathes of Homs and its countryside. The villagers of Wadi al-Nasara have for long complained of the rebels sniping at them in their town.
Following the military's victory, the people of al-Nasara celebrated the military's recapture of al-Husn and its castle, where the rebels had entrenched for over two years.
The operation for the recapture of al-Husn had started in the nearby towns of Zara and Hasrajiyeh, a Syrian military commander told local media.
The Syrian forces also found large quantities of weapons stashed inside the castle, the military source said, adding that the rebels had used the castle as a military observatory.
The sweeping victory came just days after the army succeeded to recapture the key city of Yabroud in the al-Qalamoun rugged region in northern Damascus, known as the "revolution bastion" among the rebels. Its recapture has dealt a strong blow to the armed militant groups.
Syrian troops recapture key town in Homs
DAMASCUS, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian troops on Thursday scored a new sweeping victory against militant groups, recapturing a key town in the central province of Homs, local media reported.
It's the latest victory in a series of recent successful army offensives to dislodge the rebels out of key areas surrounding the capital Damascus and the central region. Full story