Syrian Army Seizes Key Southern Rebel Town

Town Is Major Crossroads Linking Damascus to Jordan Border

The Syrian Army has achieved a major military victory tonight in the town of Sheikh Maskin, in the southern Daraa Province, where after heavy fighting they expelled rebels and seized the town. Clashes are said to continue on the outskirts.

Sheikh Maskin is of huge strategic import to the control of Daraa Province, and the rest of the nation’s southern border with Jordan, as it serves as a crossroads for highways leading to Damacus, Quneitra, and all points in Daraa.

Daraa was the site of the initial protests against the Syrian government, which morphed into the civil war, and rebels still hold most of the province. Though this is not expected to change, the loss of Sheikh Maskin means they can no longer use Daraa as a supply route to rebel-held suburbs around Damascus.

This victory comes just a day after another big Syrian military win, ousting al-Qaeda from their last significant possession in the northwestern Latakia Province. The high-profile gains in the lead-up to planned UN peace talks are expected to put the Syrian government in a better bargaining position.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.