Syrian forces claim control over strategic town in Aleppo

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The Syrian security forces have claimed control over a strategic town in the northwestern province of Aleppo on Thursday after almost a month battling with rebels, Al Arabiya reported.

The opposition Aleppo Media Center said during the confrontations in al-Safira, President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have used all kinds of weapons.

“Government forces took control of the strategic Safira city after days of clashes and heavy shelling,” Reuters quoted the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying.

Safira, a northern town, is located on a strategic road that could be used to relieve government-controlled areas of Aleppo.

It had been controlled by rebels including some from units linked to al-Qaeda.

The Observatory, which has a network of sources across Syria, did not give further details and there was no immediate comment on the reports in Syrian state media.

Safira is also located near a site linked to the country’s chemical weapons program, a monitoring group said.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which has teams in Syria to eliminate the country’s chemical weapons, has said its teams were unable to reach two sites for inspection because they were too dangerous.

The OPCW has not said which locations it had been unable to inspect, but a source briefed Reuters on their operations said one was at Safira, which is southeast of Aleppo.

The chemical weapons site itself has been under government control but emptied of equipment because of fighting nearby, the OPCW said.

(With Reuters)

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