Syria forces ambush, kill scores of terrorists
Syrian army forces have killed scores of militants, including members of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, near a historic Christian village north of the capital, Damascus.
Syrian troops on Friday ambushed the Takfiri militants near Ma’loula at dawn with government sources saying that as many as 150 militants were killed in the attack.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the incident occurred between Ma’loula and the town of Yabroud, where government forces have been fighting foreign-backed militant groups for weeks.
Ma’loula lies on the edge of the mountainous Qalamoun region, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of the capital.
Syrian troops have stepped up their mop-up operations in the strategic region, whose full liberation will give the government forces a significant edge over the militants.
The al-Nusra Front, along with other Takfiri militant groups, captured Ma’loula in late November for the second time this year.
The militants kidnapped 12 Syrian and Lebanese nuns from a Greek Orthodox convent in Ma’loula in early December. They also abducted two bishops and a priest.
The Takfiri terrorists beheaded two handcuffed Christians in the western city of Homs in June, months after they decapitated a Muslim cleric in the northern city of Aleppo and dragged his lifeless body on the streets.
Syria has been gripped by unrelenting violence since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.
According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the foreign-backed militancy.