Syria regime forces intensify Yabrud campaign, retake Qalamoun area
Syrian regime fighters retook Sahel in the Yabrud region earlier this week (STR/AFP)
The Syrian army has intensified its operations against foreign-backed opposition groups, retaking a strategic hill in Qalamoun region.
Syrian soldiers launched an offensive against the militants in the region on Tuesday, taking control of the area near the town of Yabrud, located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the capital Damascus.
The advance came a day after the troops took control of the town of Sahel in Yabrud and killed a number of rebels in the fighting.
Earlier, the army had captured two other strategic hills near the town.
Yabrud is the last major town held by rebels in the mountainous Qalamoun region along the border with neighboring Lebanon. It has been under the control of armed rebel groups since 2011.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. Over 130,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the unrest.
According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the rebels operating inside Syria.