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Apr 20, 9:34 AM EDT

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BEIRUT (AP) -- The Syrian army says troops have captured several villages in the southern province of Daraa and cut a major supply line to Jordan for opposition fighters.

A statement released in Damascus Monday said the army carried out a military operation killing "large numbers" of militants and securing the road between the southern provinces of Daraa and Sweida.

Opposition fighters and members of Syria's al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front have made major gains in southern Syria over the past weeks, capturing large swaths of territory and a border crossing point with Jordan.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian planes launched 36 airstrikes on Monday in the Daraa area, killing six militants.

Syria's civil war, now in its fifth year, has killed more than 220,000 people.

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