Intense fighting is reported from the strategic Syrian town of Qusair, as rebels and government forces fight to control the area. Opposition activists say 30 members of Hezbollah were killed, while the government claims to have captured the area.
Earlier Monday, Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the army had “restored security and stability to most Qusair neighbourhoods” and was “chasing the remnants of the terrorists in the northern district.” The agency quoted a military source as saying that army units dismantled a number of explosive devices, planted by terrorists in al-Souk area in the middle of the city.
The source added that army units are continuing hunting the remnants of terrorists in some hideouts in the northern and southern areas of the city.
Troops backed by Hezbollah “made incursions into Qusair, but they are now basically back to where they started at the security compounds in east Qusair and at a…roadblock to the south,” local activist Tareq Murei told Reuters.
Murei said that six people were killed by Hezbollah’s multiple rocket launches on Monday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 48 rebels had been killed, as well as four civilians. The Observatory’s director, Rahim Abdurahman, put Hezbollah casualties at 23 dead and 70 wounded. Lebanese security sources said at least 12 Hezbollah fighters had been killed.
Qusair, which is about 18 miles (29km) southwest of Homs, is seen as a key city for both sides. It helps link the Syrian capital of Damascus with government strongholds on the Mediterranean coast and is a passageway for rebel supplies and fighters from Lebanon.
According to UN figures, more than 80,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Bashar Assad began in March 2011.