The Syrian army has secured a mountain range nearĀ Damascus in an operation against insurgents, Syrian state television said Tuesday, tightening control over an area important to President Bashar Assad after the state lost a city in the northwest.

The army launched a campaign last week to reclaim the Zabadaniregion, 50 km northwest of Damascus. It is part of an area near the border with Lebanon where the army has often clashed with insurgents including Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

The area is important because of its proximity to the capital and its position on the border. [..]