Syrian troops push closer to major rebel-held northwest town
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Syrian troops push closer to major rebel-held northwest town

BEIRUT — A Syrian war monitor and state-controlled media say that government forces have captured two northwestern villages, inching closer to a major rebel-held town.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-linked war monitoring group, says Syrian troops captured the villages of Tel Aas and Kfar Eean early on Wednesday. The villages are just west of the rebel stronghold of Khan Sheikhoun.

The government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media also says pro-government fighters captured the villages after fierce fighting with al-Qaida-linked militants.

Syrian troops have been on the offensive against main rebel strongholds in the north of Hama province and the southern districts of Idlib, the last major concentrations of rebels in the country.

Over the past days, troops have intensified their offensive, capturing the town of Habeet on Sunday.

The Associated Press

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