Highest peak in Qalamoun mountains now in regime-Hezbollah hands

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Hezbollah and regime forces captured the highest peak in the Qalamoun mountains, just one kilometer away from the Lebanese border, from Jabhat a-Nusra on Wednesday after two days of heavy fighting, reported the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “Controlling [Tallit Mousa]opens the way for the resistance [Hezbollah] and the Syrian army to advance north to the primary crossing route in and out of Lebanon used by terrorists,” Lebanese military expert Walid Sakriya told the Hezbollah media outlet Al-Manar on Wednesday, referring to rebels’ cross-border smuggling. Rebel forces retreated to the hills around the nearby town of Ras al-Maara after Hezbollah, reinforced by regime forces, bombarded Tallit Mousa with rockets, reported the pro-opposition Smart News Agency. Last week, the rebel coalition Qalamoun Victory Army announced a “tactical withdrawal” from the mountains south of Tallit Mousa in order to block Hezbollah advances and bleed its forces out.