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General

Syrian Army Soldiers, Allies Establish Control over Region West of Palmyra City

Syrian army soldiers, supported by fighters from popular defense groups, have managed to liberate a village in the western province from the grip of ISIS terrorist group as a nationwide ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey, which excludes the Takfiris, appears to be largely holding.

A military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Syrian troops and their allies wrested control over Sharifa village, situated about 60 kilometers west of the ancient Semitic city of Palmyra, on Friday following intense clashes with ISIS militants, Syria's official news agency SANA reported.

The source added that scores of terrorists were killed and their military equipment destroyed during the fierce exchanges of gunfire.

Separately, Syrian government forces and their allies clashed with foreign-sponsored militants near the capital Damascus.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was not clear who had started the clashes in the Wadi Barada region.

Clashes erupted and are continuing... in Wadi Barada Valley near Damascus, with helicopters firing on positions belonging to the rebels and Fateh al-Sham Front," the head of the Britain-based observatory Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The Syrian government says Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front and a Salafist terrorist organization, is excluded from the ongoing ceasefire in the violence-wracked Arab country.

Syrian Army soldiers and fighters from popular defense groups launched a major offensive on December 23 to recapture Wadi Barada after terrorists refused to surrender and leave the mountainous area near the Lebanese border.

The Takfiri militants earlier contaminated Damascus's drinking water supply with diesel. The water authority had to cut supply to Damascus and resort to using water reserves after extremists polluted the al-Fija spring in the valley.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has hailed the ceasefire deal as a real opportunity for a political settlement of the deadly crisis, which has been plaguing his country since early 2011.

It is the duty of the factions (militant groups) who have signed it to distance themselves from, and declare that they are not linked to the Nusra Front or Daesh, he said in an interview broadcast live on state TV on Thursday, Press TV reported.

Source: Al Alam News Network


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