Syrian troops start large-scale offensive north of Damascus

imgThe Syrian government troops have started a large-scale offensive on the northern outskirts of Damascus, after tightening the screws on rebels in the southern rim of the capital.

The forces have been besieging the town of Qara in the al- Qalamoun mountains north of Damascus and near the border with Lebanon, Syria’s al-Watan newspaper said Sunday.

The road that connects Damascus with the central province of Homs and also leads to Qara has been cut off after several instances of rebel sniper fire on civilian cars.

“Cutting off the road will not last for long and the aim is to protect the civilians,” the paper said, citing a military source. It said the road would be open again once the army has secured it.

By fully encircling the town of Qara, government troops have completed their control over all of the eastern region from Homs to Damascus, and the rebels would have no choice but to return to Ersal, the paper said.

The next step for the army is to push into Qara and other towns on the northern outskirts of Damascus and undermine the rebels’ presence there, the paper added.

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