Syrian army captures key town in Hama province: monitor group
DAMASCUS, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army captured a key town in the central province of Hama on Monday amid ongoing battles, a monitor group reported.
At least 32 rebel fighters were killed as the Syrian forces captured the town of Maardis, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
It added that 14 government soldiers were killed in the battle to capture the town.
Capturing Maardis is part of the government forces' push to wrest control over tens of towns and villages in the countryside of Hama.
The town has a strategic meaning as it enables the Syrian army to advance into other rebel-held areas in northern Hama.
With Maardis under control, the Syrian army has controlled over 22 towns and villages in northern Hama since last week.
The northern countryside of Hama has returned under the spotlight after the rebels carried out repetitive attacks on government positions in that area.[ Editor: meng ]