Syria’s army seized the rebel-held town of Rankus on Wednesday, state media reported, citing a military source, as the government extends its control over the strategic Qalamun region which borders Lebanon.
“Units of the Syrian army have now accomplished their operation in the Rankus area and restored security and stability after eliminating a large number of terrorists,” state media said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, earlier stated that “the army entered the area and is engaged in fierce fighting and heavy shelling.” The Observatory said that 28 rebels had been killed in the Qalamun area as well as in Eastern Ghouta, in the Damascus province. Rankus is about 45 kilometers north of Damascus and was home to 20,000 people before the conflict in Syria began in March 2011. CCTV correspondent Alaa Ebrahim reports with details.