Syria

Syrian Troops Capture Damascus Suburb

Hejeira

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Syrian troops captured a contested suburb of Damascus on Wednesday as the government forged ahead with a punishing military offensive that already has taken four other opposition strongholds south of the capital, state media said.

For more than a year, much of the belt of neighborhoods and towns just south of Damascus has been a rebel bastion and a key arms conduit for the opposition. But government forces — bolstered by fighters from Lebanon's Shiite militant Hezbollah group and Shiite militants from Iraq — have made significant headway there in recent weeks as President Bashar Assad pushes to shore up his hold on the capital and its doorstep.