DAMASCUS, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army on Sunday captured the town of Misherfah in the southern countryside of Idlib Province in northwestern Syria from the al-Qaida-linked rebels, state news agency SANA reported.
The capture came after "intense battles" with the al-Qaida-linked groups in the southern countryside of Idlib, said SANA, adding the army destroyed the rebels' weaponry.
It noted that many of the rebels fled the town toward other rebel-held areas in the south of Idlib.
A military source told Xinhua that the army advanced to Misherfah under aerial cover, noting the town was under the control of the Ajnad al-Kavkaz, a Chechen-led ultra-radical group, and their allies of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.
The rebels were using the town as a launching pad for their shelling on the areas in southern Idlib that had returned under the government control.
Considered as the last major rebel bastion in Syria, Idlib has emerged as the main destination of the rebel groups, which have evacuated several positions across the country after surrendering to the Syrian army.
Certain parts of Idlib are included in a de-escalation zones' deal brokered by Russia and Turkey which backs the rebels.
However, such deals exclude the ultra-radical rebels who are affiliated with the al-Qaida and listed as terrorist groups by the United Nations.