Syria army attacks militant holdouts in Qalamoun, kills al-Nusra commander
Syrian army forces have begun an attack on the last rebel-held areas in the Qalamoun mountains, strategically located on the Lebanese border, after overrunning a key rebel bastion. The capture of the town of Yabroud Sunday by Syrian troops and Hezbollah fighters came shortly after the conflict entered its fourth year and marked a significant setback for the militants as it severs their supply lines from across the border.
The army began an offensive against remaining rebel enclaves in Qalamoun Monday evening, including shelling the village of Flita, a Hezbollah source said.
A security source in Damascus said the army would launch operations “in all areas where terrorists are to be found”.
“The aim of the army operation is to entirely secure the border and to close all corridors to Lebanon.”
Two Nusra terrorists including one commander were killed in the Qalamoun region Monday, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
A source close to Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley said Yabroud’s victory came after a Hezbollah commando raid killed 13 militant leaders, leaving their forces in disarray.
Among those killed, said the source, was Abu Azzam al-Kuwaiti, a key commander in the Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate.
Fighting raged further north in Syria’s second city Aleppo between militants and Syrian forces, as helicopters dropped a barrel bomb on an opposition area of the city, the Observatory said.