Syrians return to al-Qalamoun after it was cleared of terrorists

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Residents of al-Qalamoun region in Syria’s Damascus countryside have started returning to the mountainous region, which has been cleared of foreign-backed militants by the army.

Residents of Ras al-Ma’ara, al-Jibeh, Assal al-Ward and other towns in the region took to the streets on Saturday, celebrating and shouting slogans in support of the Syrian army.

The rallies come as government forces have now started to reconstruct the damaged infrastructure in the region, which borders neighboring Lebanon, and restore electricity.

“The situation is good. The people who were forced out of their homes by Takfiri terrorists have started returning. The people are feeling safe after the Syrian army entered,” said an army officer.

The army distributed food aid among the needy people there, while Damascus countryside governor, Hussein Makhlouf, visited the war-torn area and listened to people’s demands.

“From the moment the Syrian army entered, everything was ok. Bread, food and water are now available. We suffered a lot before from the terrorists…we are very happy, we feel safe,” said a Syrian woman.

On April 15, Syrian forces drove out militants from the towns of Assal al-Ward, Housh Arab and Jab’adin, one day after government forces retook full control of the towns of Ma’loula and al-Sarkha.

Last week, Syrian troops recaptured eastern heights overlooking Rankous plain, cutting off the militants’ supply routes between the area and the Lebanese side of the border.

Syria has been plagued by unrelenting militancy since March 2011. The Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

More than 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions of others displaced due to the ongoing violence.

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