A picture taken on December 8, 2013 shows a devastated street of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Syrian regime forces made gains in the key town of Nabuk, one of the last rebel-held areas in the Qalamoun region bordering Lebanon, a watchdog said. Image Credit: AFP

Beirut: Syrian regime troops have regained control of the key Damascus-Homs highway after seizing most of the town of Nabak in the Qalamoun region, a monitoring group said on Monday.

Syria’s Al Watan newspaper meanwhile said authorities had taken full control of Nabak and expected to reopen the highway shortly.

The Syrian army has been fighting for several weeks to secure the Qalamoun region, north of Damascus, in a bid to sever rebel supply routes across the nearby border with Lebanon.

Regime troops have seized the towns of Qara and Deir Attiya, both along the Damascus-Homs highway, but have been battling to capture Nabak, and the fighting had blocked the key road.

“Regime forces have managed to regain control of the Homs-Damascus highway,” the Observatory said in an email, adding that the road was not yet completely safe.

The highway has been closed for around 20 days because of fighting, preventing the delivery of fuel to the capital.

But Observatory director Rami Abdul Rahman said the army had secured most of Nabak, including all of the western portion of the town adjacent to the highway.

The Al Watan newspaper, which is close to the Syrian regime, said the army expected to reopen the Damascus-Homs highway “within a short time”.

“The army has extended full control over Nabak after security another area inside the town that contained pockets of terrorists,” the newspaper said.

The Syrian regime and media refer to all opposition forces as “terrorists”.

The newspaper quoted a military source as saying regime forces had killed or captured some 100 opposition forces in the town, and seized a large weapons cache.