DAMASCUS, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army declared on Wednesday capturing the key city of Maarat al-Numan in the northwestern province of Idlib.
The army captured Maarat al-Numan and several other villages and towns in the southern countryside of Idlib.
The army stormed the city on Tuesday before declaring it fully captured Wednesday morning.
The army statement said fight will continue until liberating all Syrian areas from terrorist groups.
Capturing Maarat al-Numan is a key step towards securing the Hama-Aleppo road as part of an agreement reached in Russia's Sochi in 2018 that aims to secure the official road to Aleppo, which extends all the way south to the capital Damascus.
Since the Hama-Aleppo road is under rebel control, people have traveled to Aleppo through another extension of the road.
The army is now prioritizing the recapture of the entire road between Hama and Aleppo, which will enable the travel movement to return to its pre-war time from Damascus in the south to Aleppo in the north without rerouting to other roads.