Syrian forces capture key town
President Bashar Assad's forces have captured a strategic town near Damascus after a five-week battle with rebels, according to Syrian activists and state media.
The director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul-Rahman, said government troops regained control of the town of Otaybah, east of the capital, late on Wednesday.
State-run SANA news agency said on Thursday that the army has "restored complete control" over Otaybah.
The town is located on a road linking Damascus to its international airport, along which rebels have been transporting weapons and other supplies from neighboring Jordan. The opposition has found strong support in the city's surrounding towns and neighbourhoods since the beginning of the two-year-old conflict.
Rebels fighting to topple Assad hope to eventually storm the capital from there.