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Syria, Hezbollah advance in east Zabadani

Syrian forces and fighters of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah have made fresh gains in their battle against militants in the southwestern city of Zabadani.

Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV said late Sunday that the allied forces managed to retake some key positions in al-Saylan neighborhood southeast of Zabadani.

The report said the Mahrajan Square, a bus station and several residential buildings were seized from the militants during the lightning offensive into the district. It said Hezbollah fighters and Syrian troops had launched a house-to-house chase for the militants operating in the area.

Full control over Saylan would be of critical significance for the allied forces due to its proximity to the center of Zabadani and its connection to the al-Kournish road, which is now under the control of Syrian forces.

Later reports said the allied forces had also advanced in the al-Mohtah neighborhood, also in east of Zabadani. The area is the last remaining district under the control of militants in Zabadani. The allied forces also seized control of the building of Zabadani’s main banking institution which was occupied for months by militants of the Nusra Front.

Syrian sources said at least 20 members of Nusra and the so-called Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group had been killed in fighting over the previous 24 hours.

A highly strategic town in Syria’s Rif Dimashq Province, Zabadani has been a major stronghold of militant groups. Control over the town would entirely cut off the supply lines used by the militants for transferring ammunition and forces into areas near Damascus while it also secures the highway connecting the Syrian capital to Beirut in Lebanon.

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