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Syrian army seizes last stronghold in strategic al-Qussair city


08:21, June 09, 2013

DAMASCUS, June 8 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian troops on Saturday dislodged the armed rebels from their last stronghold in the countryside of the al-Qussair city in the Homs province, prompting the governor of Homs to call on state employees to return to their posts.

On Wednesday, the Syrian army declared its full recapture of al- Qussair city after a three-week-long offensive against the rebels who have been entrenching themselves in the city for a year and a half. The operation aimed at cutting the rebels' main supply line in the central region of the country from neighboring Lebanon.

Opposition activists claimed that Hezbollah was fighting alongside the Syrian troops in al-Qussair as the group is known for being an ally of Damascus.

After the wide-scale operation in al-Qussair, remnants of rebel groups fled to nearby towns; namely al-Daba'a, al-Masudieh, al- Salhieh and al-Buwaida.

On Friday, the troops recaptured al-Masudieh and al-Salhieh after regaining al-Daba'a a day earlier. On Saturday, the troops also managed to root out the rebels from al-Buwaida, the last rebel stronghold, according to the state-run SANA news agency.

Quoting an official source, SANA said the troops have also dismantled tens of explosive devices planted by the rebels on streets and houses in al-Buwaida.

After Saturday's victory in al-Buwaida, the governor of Homs, Ahmad Munir, called on all the affected citizens whose houses and properties were damaged in al-Qussair to go to the city council to report their losses for compensation.

The governor also officially called on all state servants in al- Qussair to return to their posts to resume their work.

The recapture of al-Qussair by Syrian troops has great significance in restraining military activities of Syrian rebels in the central region in Syria, experts said, adding the rebels lost an important strategic location near the border with Lebanon.

After regaining al-Qussair, the Syrian troops eyed the northern province of Aleppo as their next war against insurgency, reports said.

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