The Syrian army has taken more ground from foreign-backed Takfiri militants near the capital Damascus amid ongoing heavy clashes between the two sides across the country, Press TV reports. On Monday, Syrian army units killed many terrorists and destroyed their hideouts in the towns of al-Sarkha, Bakha’a and al-Jibbeh in the mountainous al-Qalamoun region in the countryside of Damascus. The militants who were not killed escaped out to Housh Arab suburbs of the capital or to the Lebanese border and the army continues to chase them down. Army units also recaptured the historic town of Ma’loula, located about 60 kilometers northeast of Damascus.

“We regained control of Ma’loula just an hour ago. Just before that, we secured al-Sarkha after a series of difficult and complicated military operations because of the nature of the mountainous terrain. After taking the high grounds, we entered the town in a matter of hours and eliminated the militants,” said a Syrian army colonel. The Syrian army has been making more gains in its battle against foreign-backed militants. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday that the Takfiri war in his country has strongly shifted in favor of the government forces as they have made continuous gains in their battle against terrorists. On Sunday, Syrian troops regained the control of eastern heights overlooking Rankous plain, cutting off the militants’ supply routes between the Lebanese border and the area. Syria has been the scene of a deadly crisis since March 2011. Reports say more than 150,000 people have so far been killed and millions displaced in the foreign-backed violence. Press TV