Regime forces seized a military base from rebels in southern Syria on Tuesday and were locked in heavy fighting in a nearby opposition stronghold, a monitor and state media said.
Government troops captured the Brigade 82 base outside Sheikh Miskeen in Daraa province and were clashing with rebels inside the town, state news agency SANA said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the advances, saying army forces backed by fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and air strikes were engaged in fierce fighting with rebels.
The Britain-based monitoring group said regime forces seized the base a day after taking the northern part of the town.
Rebel groups, including al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, had been in control of Sheikh Miskeen and Brigade 82 since last year.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the town was strategically important because of its location on a crossroads between Damascus to the north and the city of Sweida to the east, both of which are under government control.