Syrian troops have reportedly seized a strategic village in the central province of Homs as the army continues clearing operations against foreign - backed militants.

Syrian government forces on Wednesday captured the village of Abel, viewed as a militant stronghold near the border with Lebanon. The village is just four kilometers from the main route that runs between Homs, Damascus and the northern province of Aleppo. The latest victory for the Syrian Army is hoped to hamper the movement of militants between the western city of Qusayr and the provincial capital, Homs. Meanwhile, reports have said foreign - backed militants took the abandoned Dabaa military airport, seizing munitions left behind. The move would have served a major gain for the militants had it not been for the capture of Abel by the government forces. Homs Province remains a strategic gain for either side because of its location which connects the capital, Damascus, to the Mediterranean coast. Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed in the violence. Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.