(Bloomberg) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops took control of a key border crossing with Jordan on Friday, three years after it fell to rebel fighters, state-run Syrian TV said.
The capture of the Naseeb crossing, crucial for Syria’s trade with Gulf countries, comes as pro-Assad forces advance in the southern province of Daraa, where the conflict began in March 2011. Rami Abdurrahman, head of the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Russian military police and Syrian police are expected to deploy at the crossing.
Russia’s military intervention to bolster Assad swung the seven-year war in his favor, and government forces and their allies control all of Syria’s major cities. They have now launched a widening offensive against opponents in the country’s southwest, a region also bordering the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Earlier on Friday, Israel fired at a Syrian military position after a mortar hit in the demilitarized zone near the border fence, according to the Israeli army. Israel and Assad-backer Iran have also been clashing in Syria, with Israel vowing to prevent the Islamic Republic from establishing a military foothold in the country.
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