Syrian Army regains strategic town near Damascus Syria
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The Syrian Army has regained control of a strategic town in the countryside of the capital Damascus following heavy clashes with the militants operating inside Syria, Press TV reports. The army units have battled the foreign-backed militants in the town of Drusha, killing many of them and forcing many others out of the town. The town turned into a field for street fighting after an army unit noticed a group of militants who were trying to enter the area and then the city of Damascus. The militants have damaged buildings and stores and desecrated the mosque of the town. The location of the town on top of a hill gives it a strategic importance as it overlooks the surrounding areas. By controlling this area, the army maintains a security belt that prevents armed men from entering the capital. On Sunday, Syrian Army troops killed two leaders of the foreign-backed militants, Abu Zaid al-Almani and Abu Malik al-Shahri, in the country's Western coastal province of Latakia. Over the past few days, Syrian forces have killed scores of Takfiri militants -- mostly foreign mercenaries -- in Latakia. Syria has been gripped by deadly turmoil since 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence. Reports indicate that Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside the country.