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August 15, 2014 AT 4:14 AM
Syrian government forces backed by Lebanon's Hezbollah took control of a town just outside Damascus from Islamist fighters on Thursday, a blow to the rebels who had held it for more than a year. Syrian state television broadcast showed government soldiers in the streets of Mleiha, which lies on the edge of the eastern Ghouta region near Damascus airport and had been surrounded by President Bashar al-Assad's forces. Mleiha, about 4 miles from the heart of Damascus, has formed a base for rebel fighters to bombard the capital with mortars in Syria's three-year-old civil war.