Syrian army troops have recaptured a strategic town in the south of Damascus from opposition forces on Wednesday, state media and a monitoring group reported.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army was backed by Iraqi and Lebanese Shiite militia in the assault on the strategic town of Bweida, Agence France-Presse reported.
The town lies close to the shrine of Sayyida Zeinab, revered by Shiites around the world.
State television said the army had “restored safety and stability to the Bweida area of Damascus province after it defeated the terrorists and destroyed their criminal equipment,” according to AFP.
The government troops were supported by fighters of Lebanese Hezbollah militia as well as by volunteers from Abul Fadl al-Abbas brigade, who include Iraqis, according to Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman
“The army's advance is part of an attempt to crush the rebels' positions in the countryside south of Damascus, in order to isolate those operating within the southern belt of the capital,” Abdel Rahman was quoted as saying by AFP.
Fighting also broke out on Wednesday near the Sayyida Zeinab shrine, and in the Hojeira district of south Damascus.
The army has placed a harsh siege on opposition-held districts south of Damascus for several months.