Syria Reportedly Regains Control Over Key Highway for First Time in 6 Years

© Sputnik / Iliya Pitalev / Go to the photo bankA Syrian army soldier prepares the Su-22 fighter jet for a flight at the Syrian Air Force base in Homs province. File photo
A Syrian army soldier prepares the Su-22 fighter jet for a flight at the Syrian Air Force base in Homs province. File photo - Sputnik International
The militants, who blocked the road, left their positions and handed over their weapons to government forces.

According to the newspaper Al-Watan, the Syrian Arab Army has regained control over the stretch of the M5 highway between the cities of Homs and Hama due to the implementation of a reconciliation agreement in a militant-held enclave north of Homs (165 km from Damascus).

The militants, who had been blocking this strategic highway since 2012, reportedly left their positions, handing over heavy and medium-sized weapons to the Syrian government forces. The publication added that the restoration of traffic on the M5 would link important economic areas in the center of Syria with the north and south of the country.

READ MORE: Militants Agree to Leave Their Last Stronghold North of Syria's Homs — Reports

Syria air defences strike back after air strikes by U.S., British and French forces in Damascus, Syria in this still image obtained from video dated early April 14, 2018 - Sputnik International
Syrian Air Defenses Target Missiles Over Homs, Damascus - Syrian TV
The reconciliation agreement covers armed opposition formations that hold the cities of Rastan, Talbis, Teir-Maale, El-Ganta and El-Houla, approximately 10-15 km north of Homs. The Nusra Front* terrorist group does not recognize the agreements with the authorities.

In addition to settlements in the north of Homs province, militants must leave the southern neighborhood of the provincial center of Hama (220 km from Damascus). Some of them agreed to stop their armed activities and move to the side of the government troops, using the amnesty provided. Those who refuse to lay down arms will be evacuated along with their families in the coming days by bus, and taken to to Idlib and Jarablus in the north of Syria.

*Al-Nusra Front, also known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra, is a terrorist group banned in Russia

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