Syrian army soldiers sitting on their tank while on patrol in Maaloula village, northeast of the capital Damascus, Syria, April 14, 2014 . (AP Photo/SANA)
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Syrian army troops backed by pro-regime militiamen entered rebel-held neighborhoods of Homs Tuesday after seizing the last village in the mountainous Qalamoun region on Lebanon's border.The attacks come a day after Syrian troops swept through some of the last remaining opposition strongholds in the countryside north of Damascus. Government forces captured three villages, including the ancient Christian hamlet of Maaloula, as part of an attempt to sever rebel supply routes across the frontier. Another town in the area, Aasal al-Ward, fell into government hands Tuesday, state TV and the anti-regime Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Regime forces and paramilitaries also achieved advances in Homs, after a U.N. operation earlier this year evacuated some 1,400 people trapped inside the besieged neighborhoods, though around 1,300 people, mostly fighters, remained behind.Observatory director Rami Abdel-Rahman said regime forces began the advance a day earlier after being reinforced by NDF forces.
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