Syrian forces take two villages near Lebanon

Syrian regime forces gained control of Flita and Ras Maara villages near Lebanon’s border, a gain that helps President Bashar al-Assad secure the route to transport chemical agents out of Syria. (File photo: Reuters)

Syrian regime forces seized control of Flita and Ras Maara, two villages near Lebanon’s border, after driving rebels out of them, state media said on Saturday.

"The Army and Armed Forces restored stability and security to the towns of Ras Maara and Flita ... after getting rid of the fleeing terrorists and destroying their weapons," state news agency SANA said.

The gain helps President Bashar al-Assad secure the route connecting Damascus to Aleppo and the Mediterranean, Reuters reported. The President needs to secure the course to be able to transport chemical agents out of Syria via its coast, part of an agreement with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to remove Syria's chemicals weapons arsenal.

The gain is likely to push militants and more refugees over the Lebanese border as the villages were two of the last rebel bastions in the area.

The Syrian government has been gaining the upper hand in the Syrian conflict through making noticeable advances in recent months.

The Syrian conflict is entering its fourth year. The uprising against the regime has turned into a bloody civil war which killed hundreds of thousands and drove millions out of their homes.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42