Syrian troops seize contested Damascus suburb

BEIRUT - Syrian government troops captured a fiercely contested suburb of the capital Thursday after five months of heavy fighting, flushing rebels from their last hideouts and quickly moving to crush pockets of resistance in the surrounding countryside, activists and state media said.


The fall of Mleiha, located some 10 kilometers (6 miles) southeast of downtown Damascus, marks the latest setback for rebels around the
capital. Over the past year, the opposition has watched as one stronghold after another has either slipped into government hands or been forced to strike lopsided truces.


The military's campaign around Damascus has succeeded in pushing the rebels farther from the heart of the city, while also strengthening President Bashar Assad's once shaky hold on the capital.