Damascus-Aleppo highway officially opens for travel

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Damascus, Feb 23 (IANS) A week following its capture by the Syrian army, the Damascus-Aleppo strategic highway has been officially opened for the travel between the country’s south and north, according to the state news agency SANA.

The opening of the road for travel on Saturday came after the army cleared the road and removed the barricades as well as rehabilitating the damaged part, reports Xinhua news agency citing SANA as saying.

On February 14, the Syrian army said it secured the vicinity of the Damascus-Aleppo highway, known as M5 highway, following battles against the rebels.

The declaration came after a two-month military campaign by the Syrian army to secure the M5, locally known as the international road, in the countryside of Idlib and Aleppo provinces in northern Syria.

Capturing the road is a strategic win for the Syrian army as the road links the political capital of Damascus with the industrial capital of Aleppo.

On February 15, the official media reports said the Syrian authorities started removing the rubble and barricades on the parts of the road that was under the rebels’ control since 2012 in Idlib countryside and Aleppo’s southern countryside.

Earlier this week, Aleppo airport reopened after it was closed down nearly eight years ago.

In December 2012, civilian flights were suspended after the opposition captured the city during an offensive.

The Syrian army regained control of the city four years later and authorities started refurbishing the key airport in the country’s second-largest city.

–IANS

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