Syria declares Damascus-Aleppo highway fully secure

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DAMASCUS, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — The strategic highway linking Syrian capital Damascus in the south with Aleppo province in the north has become fully secure, state news agency SANA reported on Friday.

The highway has become secure after the Syrian army recaptured all areas surrounding the road, said SANA.

The road fell under the government control on Feb. 11 but the official announcement came on Friday after the army secured more rebel-held areas near the road in both Idlib and Aleppo provinces in northern Syria.

The achievement marks the full control over the highway for the first time since 2012 after it was cut off by the rebels in Idlib and southern Aleppo during the crisis.

The highway links Aleppo, the economic capital of Syria, with the political capital of Damascus and areas in southern Syria.

The Syrian government, backed by its ally Russia, has kept up a military offensive in Idlib province and the southern Aleppo countryside over the past two months, aiming at securing the Damascus-Aleppo highway that runs along the rebel-controlled territory.

The 432-km Aleppo-Damascus highway contains two sections with the first between Damascus and Hama province in central Syria and the second between Hama and Aleppo.

The Hama-Aleppo section of the highway was under the control of the rebels, mainly those affiliated with the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

During the crisis, travelers used a sub-route as an alternative way to Aleppo, which was around 150 km longer. Accidents were frequently reported on the sub-route which is narrow near Aleppo.

The road has strategic importance for the flow of all necessary items between Damascus and Aleppo as well as military supplies.

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