As many as 40 rebels were killed Saturday in a Syrian military ambush at a contested city near the Lebanese borders, the state news agency SANA reported.
The Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah fighters ambushed the militants, who were attempting to sneak into the city of Zabadani from its slops, the report said.
Meanwhile, the Syrian army and its allied Hezbollah fighters continued their offensive to recapture Zabadani, northwest of the capital Damascus and near the Lebanese borders, managing to storm the city from its southern part and advance toward its center.
The government forces’ battle aims at clearing the city and the entire region of Qalamoun of the Nusra Front and its allied militants, who used the city as a conduit to smuggle militants and weapons from Lebanon into the western countryside of Damascus.
Winning the battle by the Syrian forces and Hezbollah would shield the Lebanese borders of the threat of the Nusra Front, amid reports that most of the blasts that targeted Lebanon recently were planned by the rebels in Syria and the cars were booby-trapped in Qalamoun. Enditem