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Story highlights

Rabia was the last major rebel stronghold in Syria's western province of Latakia

Engineers are now working to clear the area of mines left by retreating rebels, state media report

(CNN) —  

Syrian government troops and allied militias regained control of the last major rebel-held stronghold in the western province of Latakia on Sunday, state-run SANA and a UK-based monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that over the last two days, Syria’s military and loyalist militias, backed by Russian airpower, surrounded the rebel-held town of Rabia and took control of the surrounding villages.

Syria’s ‘lost generation’ of girls

Rabia is approximately 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the Turkish border in the province of Latakia – a stronghold of support for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. The province is also home to Hmeymim airbase, a newly expanded airbase being used by Russian jets in support of the regime.

Syrian state media quoted a military source as saying that engineering units were combing the area to deactivate bombs and mines planted by the rebels.

U.S. officials: Russia looking at Syria airfield near Turkey