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Syrian Army Regains Control over 2 Strategic Hills in Damascus, Maintains Security at Int’l Highway

The Syrian army regained control over two strategic hills and also maintained security at an international highway in Damascus countryside where it has been conducting a series of offensives in the last few weeks.
The foreign-backed terrorists were pushed back from the surrounding areas of international Damascus-Beirut highway and the army took full control over Al-Marijat and Mazbaleh strategic hills.

The Syrian troops also took back several hills overlooking the international highway.

Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian army seized back control over three strategic districts in the Western parts of the Aleppo countryside.

The army took back Jamiat al-Zahra district and two other areas from ISIL’s control in the Western Aleppo, killing and injuring tens of terrorists and destroying their vehicles.

Military sources said the recapture of Jamiat Al-Zahra is of special importance because the Syrian air force’s intelligence administration center is located there.

According to FNA dispatches from the region, the air force center is now under the Syrian army’s full control.

The Syrian army has been conducting a chain of operations in Aleppo and its countryside in the last few weeks.

Last week, the Syrian army thwarted the Takfiri terrorists’ attack on a number of districts in the Northern parts of the city of Aleppo.

The terrorists were pushed back from the surrounding areas of the Aleppo city last Tuesday.

The Takfiri terrorists tried to penetrate into Al-Ashrafiya and Al-Surian districts of the Aleppo city, but to no avail.

Elsewhere, the Syrian troops inflicted heavy losses on Takfiri groups in the countryside of Hama province, leaving at least 23 militants dead, an army official said.

A senior army official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Syrian soldiers staged an operation in the area of Mkaiman al-Shamali, Hama, and managed to kill over 23 Takfiri militants.

The official added that several vehicles belonging to the Takfiri group were also targeted during the operation.

Meantime, the Syrian army managed to flush out anti-government militants from nearby areas of Idlib province, inflicting heavy losses upon them.

The army troops raided the strongholds of the rebels in the areas of Saraqeb, Kafr Lata, al-Bara, and Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib province, leaving scores of them dead.

Also, the ISIL terrorist suffered major losses in the village of al-Jafra in Deir Ezzur, as the army made gains in the province.

Also, French anti-terrorism police arrested eight people on Tuesday on suspicion of being part of a network linked to recruiting young people for Takfiri militancy in Syria, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

The suspects, who can be held for up to 96 hours without charge, were arrested in the Northern suburbs of Paris and the Lyon region, he said, according to remarks published on the ministry’s Twitter feed.

“They are now in the hands of the police. It is a Syria issue,” an official at the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

The government estimates that about 1,300 French citizens have links to recruitment cells for Syria and Iraq, of which about 400 are already fighting alongside militants.

The arrests come after President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government unveiled a raft of new security measures in response to attacks in Paris in January by homegrown Takfiri militants in which 20 people were killed, including the three attackers.

Also, a Syrian minister warned against undermining the efforts to bring about reconciliation among the country’s conflicting sides, reiterating that Syrians will “defeat” the terrorism that has plagued their country on their own.

“The Syrians will defeat terrorism through their own efforts,” Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar said, underlining the significance of reconciliation committees for working out a peaceful solution to the crisis in the war-torn country.

The minister was hosting an annual meeting titled “Popular Reconciliations Boost Counter-Terrorism and National Dialogue” in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Haidar also called on the members of the committees to beware of those entities that seek to portray popular reconciliation efforts as a failure, adding that national reconciliation is the underlying foundation to combat terrorism and enhance national dialogue.

“Local reconciliations are in the middle of the road which starts with fighting terrorism and ends with national dialogue,” Haidar said.

The remarks came just days after Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari, who is also the head of the Syrian delegation to Russian-brokered peace talks in Moscow, described the talks between the Syrian government and the domestic Syrian opposition as positive.

Meantime, Swedish prosecutors charged a Syrian-born militant with war crimes and violating international law while fighting against the government in Syria.

Prosecutors said that the 28-year-old suspect, who was a member of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), was charged at the district court of Södertörn, South of the capital, Stockholm, with committing war crimes and an aggravated assault on a captured Syrian soldier.

Prosecutor Hanna Lemoine said the decision to press the charges came after police received access to video footage showing the suspect along with other people participating in the vicious assault of the captive and bound soldier. The crimes are believed to have taken place between May and July 2012.

Lemoine added that the former member of the FSA is currently being held in custody.

In addition, prosecutors explained that the suspect was indicted in Sweden as he had applied for and been granted permanent residency in Sweden in 2013, after the alleged war crimes took place.

The former FSA militant has denied the charges against him, claiming he “acted under duress;” however, if convicted, he could receive a jail term of up to ten years.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fuelled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 200,000 people, according to reports. New figures show that over 76,000 people, including thousands of children, lost their lives in Syria last year.

Over 7.2 million Syrians have also become internally displaced due to the ongoing crisis, according to the United Nations.

ISIL, with members from several western countries, controls parts of Syria and Iraq, and has been carrying out horrific acts of violence such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all communities such as Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.

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