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Syrian army captures key town in last major rebel stronghold
From:Xinhua  |  2019-08-11 20:13

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DAMASCUS, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army on Sunday captured a key town in the countryside of Idlib Province in northwestern Syria, which will pave the way for capturing more areas in the last major rebel stronghold in the country, a war monitor and a military source said.

The army captured the town of al-Habit in the southern countryside of Idlib, which is considered a very important progress as the move has made a dent in the rebels' defense line and will allow the army to capture more towns in southern Idlib, the military source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it has been the most important achievement for the Syrian army since a military campaign started in the region late in April.

The town was finally captured at dawn following five failed attempts, the London-based watchdog added.

The progress will enable the Syrian army to advance toward the Khan Sheikhun city, which is located 11 km east of al-Habit and one of the important rebel strongholds in Idlib, the Observatory noted.

Capturing al-Habit will also allow the Syrian army to tighten the siege on rebel-held areas in the northern countryside of the central province of Hama, which is adjacent to the southern countryside of Idlib.

Idlib, as well as the northern countryside of Hama, are included in the de-escalation zones' deal that was reached between Russia and Turkey last September.

The deal, however, has largely failed despite several attempts to revive it.

The latest attempt to fix the deal took place earlier this month when Turkey and Russia mediated a fresh cease-fire in Idlib, which failed quickly with the resumption of the military showdown.