Syria, Hezbollah tighten siege on militants in Zabadani
Syrian armed forces and the fighters of Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah have made new gains in the border region of Qalamoun, tightening their siege on the militants operating in and around the town of Zabadani.
Lebanese sources said Saturday that Syrian ground forces managed to enter Zabadani, 50 kilometers northwest of Damascus, around dawn while Syrian fighter jets intensely pounded the positions of the militants inside the town.
The sources said Hezbollah fighters also launched an offensive on the western outskirts of the city, making some advances in the area.
Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV reported that the allied forces also blocked a major road north of Zabadani to cut off the militants’ supply line into other towns in Qalamoun, including Serghaya and Ain Hawr.
The Saturday offensive also saw the allied forces capture a hilltop position of the militants in the neighboring areas of Qalamoun, namely the Qalaat al-Tal or Qalaat al-Koko.
Security sources say the joint operation in Zabadani, which started several days ago, has forced a considerable number of militants to withdraw from the town and the surrounding areas.
Syrian official SANA news agency described the operation as massive, saying it has inflicted huge casualties on the militants holed up in Zabadani.
“The allied forces are pushing toward their targets on several fronts,” the report said.
The offensive on Zabadani is part of a wider operation launched by Syria and Hezbollah since May 4, which has reportedly driven militants out of more than 90 percent of the territory previously controlled by them in Qalamoun.
The mountainous region, which straddles the Lebanese-Syrian border, was previously used by the al-Nusra Front militants for transferring weapons and ammunition into Syria, where they have been involved in terrorist activities.