Syrian government forces seize control of most of hotly contested Damascus suburb

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Syrian activists say government troops have seized control of most of a contested suburb south of Damascus.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have taken over the center of Mleiha, while clashes continued Thursday in areas surrounding the town.

The Syrian state news agency says the military killed a "large number" of terrorists in Mleiha, and is pursuing other gunmen on the town's northern periphery. The government refers to those fighting to topple Assad as terrorists.

For months, the government has waged a ferocious offensive that has included relentless airstrikes to try to dislodge rebels from Mleiha.

The town is strategically located near the highway to the Damascus airport, and is on the southern edge of the opposition stronghold of eastern Ghouta.