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Syrian government raises flag in Douma -Russian agencies

– 2013: Strategic Qusayr –

Regime troops seized rebel stronghold Qusayr, close to the Lebanese border, in June 2013 after a blistering 17-day assault led by Hezbollah fighters.

The town was important for the rebels as a principal transit point for their weapons and fighters from Lebanon. It was also strategic for the regime because it links the capital Damascus to the coast.

– 2016: Assad fiefdom Latakia –

The tables started to turn in the regime’s favour when military heavyweight Russia stepped in with air strikes in September 2015 to back up the Syrian army, then close to collapse after a series of setbacks.

With Russian help, the regime drove rebels from their strongholds of Salma and Rabia in Latakia province on the Mediterranean coast in January 2016. Latakia is the fiefdom of Assad’s family.

– 2016: Second city Aleppo –

After a suffocating siege and a crushing Russian-backed offensive involving barrel bombs, rockets and shells, the army declared in December 2016 that it was in full control of Syria’s second city, Aleppo.

It was the regime’s biggest victory against opposition forces since the civil war erupted in 2011.

Tens of thousands of rebels and civilians were evacuated from the northern city under a deal sponsored by Iran, Russia and Turkey.

Capitulation: Buses are seen during an evacuation operation of rebel fighters and their families from rebel-held neighbourhoods in Aleppo in December, 2016

– 2017: Wadi Barada, water source –

In January 2017, the army recaptured the flashpoint of Wadi Barada, the source of Damascus’s main water supply, after rebels agreed to withdraw in exchange for an end to a devastating month-long siege backed by Hezbollah.

The Syrian army was able enter the water pumping station in Wadi Barada for the first time in four years.

– 2017: Palmyra, ancient heritage –

Syrian troops backed by Russian jets completed the recapture of the ancient desert town of Palmyra from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in March 2017.

The oasis city had traded hands several times during the war and become a symbol of IS’s destruction of priceless cultural heritage in areas under its control.

Before IS first entered the city in 2015, Palmyra boasted temples and tombs that were among the best preserved classical monuments in the Middle East.

– 2017: Homs, Damascus districts –

The regime regained total control of the central city of Homs in May 2017 after the Russian-supervised evacuation of rebels from their last area of control.

Syrian forces also retook three major Damascus districts: Barzeh, Qabun and Tishrin.

After losing swathes of territory, rebels had agreed to “reconciliation” deals under which they were granted safe passage to opposition-held territory elsewhere in exchange for an end to army sieges and bombardment.

– 2017: Oil-rich Deir Ezzor –

In November 2017, Syrian troops and allied militiamen entered and recaptured Albu Kamal, the last town in Syria still held by IS on the Iraqi border.

In 2014, IS had largely overrun the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor during a blistering military sweep across Syria and Iraq.