Syrian Rebels Re-Enter Historic Town Maalula

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Syrian opposition fighters have re-entered the historic Christian town of Maalula north of Damascus, as they battle regime troops in the surrounding Qalamoun region, a monitoring group said on Saturday.

"Fierce clashes are under way between rebel fighters, including the Al-Nusra Front, and regime troops in Maalula, which the rebels have entered and are trying to gain control of," said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Government forces repelled a rebel advance into Maalula in September, after heavy fighting that prompted most of the town's residents to leave.

The picturesque town is considered a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria, and its 5,000 residents are among the few in the world who speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ.

The renewed clashes in the town come as the regime battles to gain control of a string of strategic towns and villages along the Damascus-Homs highway, north of the capital.

It has recaptured the town of Qara and Deir Attiyeh, and government troops are now battling rebels for control of Nabak.

On Saturday, the Observatory said fighting was continuing in Nabak, and that regime forces had launched several air strikes on the town, as well as on nearby Yabroud and its environs.

A Syrian security source told Agence France Presse this week that government forces plan to secure Nabak and then move farther south to Yabroud.

They are seeking to encircle the rebels in the Qalamoun region north of Damascus and sever opposition supply lines across the nearby border with Lebanon.

Comments 3
Default-user-icon JCWilliams (Guest) 30 November 2013, 16:59

The Rebels do not belong in this ancient Christian city. I believe the "Regime" should not allow a single Islamists to escape. This is the second time they have gone in and the "Regime" and it's allies should make it clear that this will not be tolerated. If I was in charge there would be no survivors only martyrs and I would order the destruction of whatever town they retreat to.

Default-user-icon roland sarkis (Guest) 01 December 2013, 08:39

The syrian regime must be destroyed totally! EOS!

Default-user-icon Hammerhead (Guest) 01 December 2013, 14:38

Mr Williams you do not know the ways of the snake, the regime is allowing them to enter these towns in the hope that some atrocity is committed against a church or any Christian civilians.
I'll leave it to you to figure out why.