World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian forces have taken took full control of Qara, a town in a region used by rebels to cross from Lebanon and which straddles a highway linking the capital to government strongholds along the coast, state media said on Tuesday.
Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad launched an offensive on Friday against Qara, 80 km (50 miles) north of Damascus in the Qalamoun mountains.
Damascus is keen to secure the highway as it intends to use it to transport chemical agents from the capital to the coast for extraction as part of a U.S. and Russian-backed programme to eliminate its chemical weapons arsenal.
State news agency SANA quoted a military source saying the army "eliminated terrorists' last gatherings and destroyed their weapons." The government always refers to rebels as terrorists.
The capture of Qara follows army advances around the northern city of Aleppo and in towns circling Damascus as rebels lose ground in the civil war that has left more than 100,000 dead, according to the United Nations.Last Mod: 19 Kasım 2013, 13:46