Syrian military and security forces have reclaimed the city Yabroud from the militant rebels according to Syrian state television. The city is considered as a key transport route and this move by the Syrian government takes them a few steps ahead of the militant rebels. For President Bashar Al-Assad, this is a huge relief as his military and the Hezbollah lead Lebanese forces have gunned for that important town for months now. Just last week for the first time in months the Syrian president Assad stepped out of the capital and visited a displaced shelter. This visit was reported as the first campaign move before the general election in Syria in four months time.
The Qalamoun mountains near the Lebanon border have been a hot bed for the militants and the Syrian military has intensified attacks on that mountain ranges since last November. Earlier the Assad Military forces captured other important towns around the mountains that are considered as important transport routes from Damascus. The bombing of Yabroud meant many militants crossed over the border to Lebanon in recent days.
Today’s capture of Yabroud is a huge success for the Syrian military as that town has been under the jihad militant control for nearly all three conflict struck years. This a series of losses for the rebels who are reportedly short on goods and men. Last week Reuters reported that the one of the militants claimed that smuggling of food and medicines have become tough for them after the Syrian military tightened the boundaries of cities occupied by the rebel militants.
But, one of Al Qaeda militant groups involved in the rebellion has reportedly claimed that the militants have left Yabroud to the nearby villages to regroup and hit back at the Syrian military again with full force. Some locals suspect that few militant camps are hiding in Yabroud still and are expected to mount a counter attack. Many pundits believe though this town seizure means momentum for the Assad military it is not a checkmate for the militants who still control many important parts of Syria.
Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and his government colleagues have made it clear in the past few weeks that Syrian general elections are going to take place as scheduled and it is unconstitutional for any foreign forces to stop Syrian elections. This reaction from Syrian leaders came in wake of recent comments made by the UN envoy taking care of the Syrian conflict in which he said that the rebel militants would not be interested to negotiate if Assad went ahead with the elections. Syrian opposition also view this upcoming election cycle as a fake one particularly if Assad decides to re-contest for presidency.
Experts says today’s recapture of Yabroud and the past seizure of nearby town near the Lebanese border from the militants could be advantages to Assad in the upcoming polls. It is also reported that Assad has gained back support from other areas. The Shia population of Syria are loyal Assad supporters since the start of the civil war.
By Vikas Vemuri