Pro-government fighters hold the Syrian flag as they pose for a photo in the village of al-Sahel, near the rebel held town of Yabrud, nearly 80 kilometres north of Damascus, on March 4, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/ STR)
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Syrian army tightens noose on YabroudGovernment troops are tightening their grip on the last rebel stronghold near the border with Lebanon a day after taking control of a key village in the area, a Syrian field commander told reporters Tuesday. During a government-led tour of Sahl, a Syrian commander told reporters that troops ousted opposition fighters from the village Monday, bringing down the rebels' "first line of defense" around Yabroud.The Syrian field commander said the army was determined to clear the area by launching a final assault from Sahl.Fighting in and around Yabroud killed dozens of people Monday, including about 17 rebels, 15 government and allied militia fighters and at least four Hezbollah fighters, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
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