Assad's forces take suburb of capital
BEIRUT — Syrian troops captured a contested suburb of Damascus on Wednesday as the government forged ahead with a punishing military offensive that already has taken four other opposition strongholds south of the capital, state media said.
For more than a year, much of the belt of neighborhoods and towns just south of Damascus has been a rebel bastion and a key arms conduit for the opposition. But government forces — bolstered by fighters from Lebanon's Shiite militant Hezbollah group and Shiite militants from Iraq — have made significant headway there in recent weeks as President Bashar Assad pushes to shore up his hold on the capital and its doorstep.
The recent government advances could give Assad's government a stronger position in proposed peace talks that the United States and Russia have been trying to convene since May.
The town of Hejeira on Wednesday became the latest rebel-held suburb to fall into government hands. State news agency SANA said the army seized control of the town, but was still battling rebels on the outskirts.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group confirmed that government forces were in control of most of Hejeira, but said there were still small pockets of resistance.
The opposition's hold on Hejeira became untenable after the military captured the adjacent town of Sabina in recent days.
While the government has driven the rebels from several of their footholds around the capital, the opposition is still within striking distance of the center of Damascus, and fires barrages of mortar rounds into the city daily.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Obama, generals part ways on ground war in Iraq
- Russia’s business world rattled by arrest of oil tycoon Yevtushenkov
- Al-Qaida’s South Asia wing claims 1st big strike
- With hours before secession vote, many in Scotland undecided
- Nations urged to follow U.S. example on Ebola
- Aid to Ukraine uncertain as its leader visits U.S.
- Convict’s wish for assisted suicide OK’d in Belgium
- Poll: ‘No’ leads ‘yes’ in a close Scotland vote on independence from United Kingdom
- Study: Ocean algae can evolve fast to adjust to climate change
- Landmark Ukraine, EU deal ratified