Syrian troops retake strategic town


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The Independent Online

Syrian troops have taken full control of a town near a highway linking the capital Damascus with the Jordanian border, a new advance in its campaign to drive rebels from the country's south, an activist group said today. 

Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said government forces retook all of Khirbet Ghazaleh yesterday, after days of heavy fighting. He said rebel fighters withdrew.

Syrian state TV had reported late last week that troops had secured the highway between Damascus and the southern town of Daraa, near the Jordanian border. Mr Abdul-Rahman said the highway only reopened yesterday, after troops took full control of the area.

The capture of Khirbet Ghazaleh is one of several recent battlefield gains by the regime of President Bashar Assad.