Syrian Troops Retake Strategic Town

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The road needed to ship Syria's chemical weapons out of the country has come under the control of the Syrian army, media reports said on Tuesday.

Syrian Troops Retake Strategic Town

The Damascus-Homs highway had been blocked for around 20 days, preventing the delivery of fuel to the capital, as troops battled with rebel fighters to secure control of the town of Nabaak.

The Syrian army has been fighting for several weeks to secure the Qalamoun region, north of Damascus, in a bid to sever rebel supply routes across the nearby border with Lebanon, Al Jazeera reported.

"We're hearing that the eastern part of Nabaak is falling to regime forces, fighting alongside Hezbollah forces," reported Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas from the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

"We don't have accurate casualty numbers, but it is understood to be a heavy toll."

The Al-Watan newspaper, which has close ties with the Syrian administration, quoted a military source as saying government forces had killed or captured some 100 opposition forces in the town, and seized a large weapons cache.

The world's chemical watchdog said on Sunday that the transportation of Syria's chemical arsenal out of the country could be delayed, due to technical difficulties.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had previously planned to rid the country of the highest priority weapons among its stockpile by the end of the year.

In total, 1,290 tons of chemical weapons, ingredients and precursors are to be destroyed.

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