File - Krak des Chevaliers, Syria, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. (Wikipedia/Bernard Gagnon)
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Syrian troops captured a famous Crusader castle Thursday near the border with Lebanon after days of intense clashes with opposition fighters, the latest in a series of battlefield gains by government forces along the frontier, state media and officials said.Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have seized at least four towns and villages in the past two weeks near the border with Lebanon as the government tries to sever rebel supply lines across the rugged, mountainous border.Syrian authorities refer to opposition fighters as terrorists.A Homs-based activist who goes by the name of Beibares Tellawi told the Associated Press that the castle fell into the hands of government troops earlier Thursday, a day after rebels and the government agreed that opposition fighters would be given safe passage to Lebanon. He added that troops captured Al-Hosn, where the citadel is located, after an intense bombardment by the Syrian air force.
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