The Syrian army has regained control of the strategic boarder city of Qusayr on the border with Lebanon, Syrian rebels and state television have said.
“Our heroic armed forces have returned security and stability to all of the town of Qusayr,” a statement carried by the station said on Wednesday.
Rebels confirmed they had pulled out of Qusayr, where they had fought fierce battles with government forces, who are backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, for more than two weeks.
One Hezbollah fighter told the Reuters news agency that they took the town in a rapid overnight offensive, allowing some of the fighters to flee.
“We did a sudden surprise attack in the early hours and entered the town. They escaped,” he said.
The city, where civilians have been trapped without access to water and electricity for weeks, is on a critical cross-border supply route between Lebanon and Syria.
Iran, which backs Hezbollah and the Syrian regime, was quick to congratulate the army and the Syrian people for their victory over the rebels.
Foreign Minister Hossen Amir Abdolahia called the rebels the “takfiri terrorists”, using a term for Sunni fighters who comprise the majority of the country’s rebels, according to the AFP.