Syrian forces seek to capture towns along Qalamoun highway


December 2, 2013

FIGHTING FOR NABEK: Syrian state television reported Sunday that government troops had gained full control of Nabek in Qalamoun, the same day the Syrian official news agency SANA reported government troops had only partial control of the city.

In the world of state media, with its dubious connections to reality, the Syrian army has arrived and conquered, earning the goodwill of the citizens. “Thank God, with the entrance of the Syrian Arab Army, everything is good, the service of the hospital is good, thank God,” a citizen tells the Syrian television correspondent.

Meanwhile, the pro-opposition Qalamoun Media Center told Syria Direct on Monday violent clashes are continuing in the city, which has been exposed to artillery fire and continuous raids from the Syrian air force for thirteen days.

Conflicting reports continue to emerge about who controls how much of Nabek, though activist videos in recent days confirm reports of air strikes and destruction throughout. It is still not clear which side is closer to capturing the town.

“We are present in front of the international highway. The Syrian Arab Army has spread to the right and left of the road in order to secure the highway, and will be combing the area for armed terrorist gangs,” says a military officer in the clip.

Nabek, one of the major towns in the mountainous Qalamoun region, lies about 70 kilometers from Damascus and 15 kilometers from the mountains of eastern Lebanon, and is home to an estimated 85,000 people.

The battle for Nabek began when regime forces backed by Hezbollah fighters seized control of the city of Qara on November 19th, with pro-opposition media outlets reporting the regime’s attempts to besiege cities and isolate and starve the mountainous area.

The international highway running through Nabek, the village of Deir Attiyeh and Qara connects the Syrian government in Damascus in the south with Homs and the majority-Alawite Syrian coast to the north. Video courtesy of Syria RTV

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