DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian army officials say troops have regained control of several villages along a strategic highway near the embattled northern city of Aleppo.

The highway links the central city of Hama with Aleppo's International Airport, the second largest in Syria.

Rebels have been trying to storm the airport for weeks. They ousted troops from several military bases protecting the facility and cut off a major highway the army used to supply its troops inside the airport complex.

In a statement Saturday, the Syrian Army's General Command said its troops had carried out special operations in towns and villages along the road, restoring stability there and at the airport.

The statement was carried Saturday by the Syrian state-run SANA news agency.

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