The walls and halls of the ancient Crac des Chevaliers Crusader fortress echoed yet again with battle cries as government forces locked horns with the rebels in Syria.
After several hours of fierce fighting, The Syrian Army ousted the rebels, killing at least 93 of them as they fled to neighboring Lebanon, an army commander told reporters on a government-led tour of the area.
Reporters were shown signs of a precipitous flight from by the opposition fighters, including food on a burning makeshift stove left behind untouched, as well as collapsed walls and staircases and other damage from the multiple rounds of fighting in the UNESCO World Heritage site since rebels first seized it in 2012.
The fall of the imposing hilltop citadel is as much symbolic as strategic. It is the latest in a string of government victories near the frontier with Lebanon, used by rebels as a conduit for recruits and supplies.