Middle East

Syrian govt. forces make more gains in al-Qalamoun

Syria-army-soldiersThe Syrian army continues to gain ground in its fight against foreign-backed Takfiri groups in the strategic al-Qalamoun area in the countryside of the capital, Damascus.

The Syrian army says it has forced foreign-sponsored militants out of Qara town in the mountainous Qalamoun region following days of fighting there.

The clashes caused one of the country’s main highways to be cut off for over two days.

Qalamoun region is used by the militants to cross into Syria from Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says militants fighting against the Syrian government have executed civilians during an attack on the Christian village of Sadad in October.

HRW said on Tuesday that civilians and others were also killed by militants’ sniper fire, while some residents were killed in militants’ shelling, which has been indiscriminate.

Witnesses told HRW that militants did not allow Sadad residents leave their homes during their offensive from October 21 to 28, and used them as human shields.

Human Rights Watch identified 46 Sadad residents killed in the village during the weeklong operation. Forty-one of the dead were civilians, according to locals, including 14 women and two children.

The HRW has urged the UN Security Council to refer Syria’s armed conflict to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Nearly three years of crisis in Syria have claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people, according to statistics compiled by the United Nations, while millions have been also displaced due to the turmoil.

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