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Syrian govt re-controls key town

Updated: 2013-11-14 13:45
( Xinhua)

Syrian govt re-controls key town

Houses and lanes are smashed into rubble after a clash between Syrian government forces and rebels in the town of Hajjira in the Damascus countryside on Nov 13, 2013. The Syrian government claimed to have control of the town on Wednesday.[Photo/Xinhua]

DAMASCUS -- The Syrian government re-controlled the town of Hajjira in the countryside of Damascus after dislodging the country's rebels, while it said it would seriously attend the Geneva II conference on Syria.

The Syrian troops' recent progress came as part of their large-scale operation to wrest back control of some rebel-held areas in the countryside of Damascus.

Hundreds of the rebel fighters fled Hajjira following the Syrian troops' recapture of the town. The Syrian troops meant to show the determination of regaining the upper hand ahead of the Geneva II conference on Syria.

Earlier this week, the army recaptured another key town east of Damascus, thus tightening its siege against the rebels in the Yarmouk camp and Hajar al-Aswad.

In an interview with the Syria's main TV channel on Wednesday, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said that the Syrian government will attend the Geneva II conference on Syria and will be open to all ideas.

He stressed the Syrian government's seriousness to attend the peace talks in Geneva to come up with a political solution to the protracted crisis in Syria.

The minister said that some parties will try to thwart the conference "as they thwarted the Iranian talks in Geneva," referring to the faltering talks between Iran and Western powers regarding Tehran's nuclear program.

He slammed the exiled opposition coalition's preconditions for attending the conference, saying that his government was not concerned with the preconditions of the opposition and the Syrian opposition in exile had no political program.

He also noted that the opposition, which had been reluctant to participate in peace talks with representatives of the Syrian government, changed its stance because of the pressure of its Western patrons.

Earlier this week, the exiled Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition umbrella in exile, said it would attend the Geneva II conference but placed a condition that President Bashar al-Assad should have no role in the transitional period in the war-ravaged country.

The Assad administration repeatedly said it rejects preconditions prior to negotiations.

On other developments, conflicts were still going on in the country as Syrian troops advanced on several fronts, mainly the outskirts of Damascus and the southern swath of Aleppo province

Eight people were killed and some others wounded in twin rocket attacks against two areas in Syria's northern city of Aleppo, the state-run SANA news agency reported Wednesday.

Nine people were killed and 16 others wounded on Wednesday in a mortar attack against districts of Syria's central province of Homs, SANA said.

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