Syrian army seize border town of Yabroud
(19 March 2014)
It is reported that the Syrian military has seized the town of Yabroud situated near the Lebanese border. The strategic town was captured with the aid of Lebanese allies from the Hezbollah militant group, choking off vital supply and transport routes. Yabroud was the last major rebel held town in the province of Qalamoun, west of Damascus.
The Syrian military commented, “This new success is an important step towards securing the border area with Lebanon, and cutting off the roads and tightening the noose around the remaining terrorist cells in Damascus province”. An unnamed military spokesperson announced on state television that, “The crushing of the terrorist groups is a continuation of the successes made by the Syria army in Qalamoun. It completes an important circle in securing the border regions between Syria and Lebanon, and also cuts the supply roads”. The capturing of Yabroud will assist President Bashar al-Assad to secure the land route linking the Mediterranean coastal stronghold with the capital Damascus, choking off any cross border rebel supply lines from Lebanon.
The combat for Yabroud has left thousands of refugees displaced. Reports claim that the small town of Arsal, which is situated in the frontier region between Lebanon and Syria, has seen an influx of migrants, adding to its already existing population of 51,000 Syrian refugees. Further reports claim that the bombardment of Yabroud has caused some of its 40,000 residents to flee to Lebanon, while other reports state that more than 1,000 refugees fled to the mountainous border area approximately 20km northwest of Yabroud, used regularly as a popular crossing point.
Over 100,000 people have been killed since March 2011 when the conflict between rebels and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces commenced.
“Syrian army captures strategic border town”, Al Jazeera News, 16th March 2014. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/03/syrian-army-captures-strategic-border-town-20143167587954232.html.
“Syrian forces retake border town in blow to opposition”, Erika Solomon, Financial Times, 16th March 2014. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ae3cd6e8-ad09-11e3-af3e-00144feab7de.html#axzz2wOZ2yBLH.
“Syrian troops seize key rebel town of Yabroud”, Ruth Sherlock, 16th March 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/10701488/Syrian-troops-seize-key-rebel-town-of-Yabroud.html.
“Syria ‘recaptures rebel border town Yabroud’”, BBC News, 16th March 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-26603207.