Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Syrian troops recapture villages near strategic Damascus suburbs & city of Qusayr

"... The area around Qusayr has long been a battle zone, with both the government and the rebels considering it strategic to their goals....
Residents said the participation in the offensive of fighters from Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia that’s increasingly fought on the side of the Syrian government, was crucial to the government’s recapture of the villages.
Rebels use the area to move people and supplies between Syria and supportive communities in Lebanon, and last year it served as an approach to gain a foothold in Homs, the country’s third largest city, which continues to see combat despite a nearly yearlong siege by the government against rebel-held neighborhoods in its center.
Qusayr sits astride a highway that connects Damascus to Latakia and Tartus, the major coastal cities in the provinces of the same name...., ...
The push around Qusayr coincides with similar government offensives in the capital, Damascus, and the southern province of Daraa, where the participation of pro-government militias in the fighting has bolstered the Syrian military.
The tactic apparently has been effective. Opposition supporters in the eastern Damascus suburb of Douma, a staging ground for rebels seeking to push deeper into the capital, which has been rebel-run for months, said the government effectively had cut rebel supply lines and isolated the area. Government forces also overran rebel-held suburbs last week in western Damascus in an effort to apply pressure on Darayya, a rebel stronghold in southern Damascus...."

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