The Syrian army forces have gained full control over key town of al-Zarah in the countryside of Talkalakh in Homs province, purging the entire area from the foreign-backed insurgents.
Units of Syrian troops inflicted heavy losses on the insurgent forces in the town in a Saturday operation, killing a large number of their fighting force and eliminating a considerable amount of their weaponry, state news agency SANA reported, citing military sources.
The report further added that a group of the armed militants surrendered to Syrian troops.
According to the report, 30 gunmen in al-Zarah turned themselves into government soldiers and gave up their weapons.
The army troops have been making steady gains against the foreign-backed insurgents across the country in recent weeks.
FSA appoints new leader
Meanwhile, the so-called Free Syrian Army has confirmed the appointment of its new chief, Brigadier General Abdel Ilah al-Bashir, after former head General Salim Idriss had initially refused to step down, AFP reported.
The FSA confirmed "the dismissal of Idriss and the appointment of... Bashir as head of the Supreme Military Council," in a statement late on Friday.
Bashir, who defected from the government army to join rebels fighting in southern Syria, had originally been appointed to head the FSA in mid-February.
But Idriss and several senior commanders in the field rejected his dismissal, with some branding it as an undemocratic "coup."
The FSA's Higher Military Council removed Idriss from his position in February, citing the "difficulties faced by the Syrian revolution" in its battle to overthrow the Syrian government.
Considered the "moderate" rebel group, the Western-backed FSA was once the country's strongest armed opposition force but has now largely been marginalized by powerful jihadist groups.
The key Arab country has been resisting an insurgency war aimed at toppling the Damascus government since 2011.
According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.
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