Syrian troops in the town of Maalula on September 11, 2013
Syrian troops in the town of Maalula on September 11, 2013 © - AFP/File
Syrian troops in the town of Maalula on September 11, 2013
AFP
Last updated: November 13, 2013

Syrian army seizes town south of capital

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The Syrian army has seized a town south of Damascus in its campaign to cut off eastern neighbourhoods of the capital that are home to rebels, state television said Wednesday.

"The army has taken town of Hujeira," the television channel said.

The military has for months edged closer to rebel positions in the southern districts of Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"The town is totally under the control of the army after three days of fighting. This has tightened the noose on armed terrorist groups," said a senior regime security official.

"It gives a new dimension to securing the southern entrance of Damascus and cutting supply lines to the terrorist groups present south of Damascus," he told AFP.

President Bashar al-Assad's regime branded opponents as "terrorists" when Arab Spring-inspired protests broke out in March 2011, before the movement took up arms.

The relentless fighting is estimated to have killed more than 120,000 people, uprooted millions from their homes and trapped tens of thousands of civilians.

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