Syrian army backed by Russian Air Force retook one of the largest bases near Sheikh Maskin 13012152

The conflict in Syria
 
Syrian army backed by Russian Air Force retook one of the largest bases near Sheikh Maskin.
Syrian troops backed by heavy aerial bombardment pushed toward a strategic town in the southern province of Deraa on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 after capturing a nearby military base, the army said. (Source Reuters)
     
Syrian troops backed by heavy aerial bombardment pushed toward a strategic town in the southern province of Deraa on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 after capturing a nearby military base, the army said. (Source Reuters) Syrian soldiers raise their weapons while holding a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
     
The Syrian army said it retook Brigade 82, one of the largest bases north of the mainly rebel-held town of Sheikh Maskin, whose capture by rebels earlier this year threatened the army's supply routes to the south.
 

A group monitoring the war said later on Tuesday that insurgents were putting up fierce resistance and that fighting raged on, counting more than two dozen air strikes during the assault.

The army offensive toward Sheikh Maskin is part of the first major assault in southern Syria since Russia launched air strikes on Sept. 30 to support its ally President Bashar al-Assad.

The army also said in a news flash on state television it had recaptured the Al Hesh hills, northwest of Sheikh Maskin. The hilltops, held by the rebels for about a year, overlook much of rebel-held western Deraa.

The aerial bombardment supporting Tuesday's ground offensive appeared to be carried out by Russian jets, the monitoring group said.

Russia has until recently focused its bombing on insurgent targets in northwestern Syria and coastal areas to help the Syrian army claw back territory it lost earlier this year.
 

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