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Syrian PM confident of army's victory


08:17, May 22, 2013

DAMASCUS, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Prime Minister Wael al- Halqi hailed on Tuesday the army's "big achievements" and stressed that the "victory is nearing," the state-run SANA news agency reported.

Al-Halqi's remarks were made during a regular session of the Syrian cabinet when the Syrian forces were still advancing in their decisive battle to dislodge the rebels from the strategic central town of al-Qussair near the Lebanese border.

While lauding the "army's victories," al-Halqi said such victories have positively rebounded on the internal situation in Syria in tandem with the government's plans that aim to improve the citizens' living conditions.

The Syrian troops on Tuesday pushed further in their operation to regain al-Qussair, local media said, adding that the operations focused on the northern part of the town.

SANA said units of the Syrian forces continued pursuing " terrorists" in the northern and southern areas of al-Qussair after regaining full control over its eastern part, the stadium, parts of the western area and the area surrounding the cultural center, a church and the municipality roundabout to al-Ghaita area.

The army destroyed many tunnels used by the rebels in the central and northern area of the town, killing scores of rebels and destroying their weaponry and equipment, SANA said.

Among those killed was Abu Omar, leader of the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front in al-Qussair, local media said.

Omar was killed alongside 10 of his fighters Tuesday as the Syrian army kept advancing for the third consecutive day to regain the strategic town.

The army pushed its way into al-Qussair early Sunday after taking control of its countryside in a 46-day military operation.

The Syrian army's wide-scale offensive aims to cut the rebels' main supply line in the central region of Syria, analysts say.

The advancement of the Syrian troops comes as the superpowers are poised to hold an international meeting in June with the participation of representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition to hammer out an approach that could be a prelude to a political settlement to the 26-month-old crisis.

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