Qusayr rebels face ferocious assault | Pakistan Today

Qusayr rebels face ferocious assault

Government forces together with fighters from the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah are continuing their assault on Qusayr amid growing concerns for thousands of civilians feared to be trapped inside the strategic Syrian city.
Government troops on Saturday continued to bombard rebel-held areas of the city bordering Lebanon, activists told said, as clashes raged between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and opposition fighters on several front lines.
Meanwhile, six rockets fired from Syria hit Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa region, a security source said, causing no casualties.
Rockets fired from Syria have repeatedly hit Lebanese territory, striking both Sunni areas that back the uprising against Assad, and strongholds of Hezbollah.
Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and is a close ally of Assad, sent an estimated 1,700 fighters to Qusayr almost two week ago to support the regime’s assault. Its fighters encircled Qusayr as regime troops launched a fierce assault on the city which is home to more than 10,000 people. Regime forces have recently captured the northern district of Arjun in Qusayr, leaving rebels little chance to escape. While around 300 rebels managed on Friday to break through army lines near the village of Shamsinn, northeast of Qusayr- after losing 11 fighters – it was unclear if they could quell the advances of regime forces.
Call for arms: Brigadier General Salim Idris, the head of the military council of the Free Syrian Army, told Al Jazeera that the opposition fighters, who arrived from the northern province of Aleppo, were heavily outgunned and overwhelmed by members of the Hezbollah group.
Idris warned the “revolution could be lost”, if the West did not act quickly and support the rebels with heavy weaponry. More than 1,000 wounded civilians remain trapped in Qusayr, activists said, and makeshift clinics there suffer from “acute” shortages of medical supplies. Activists have warned of “a massacre” by regime forces if they manage to storm the city.
The control of Qusayr is essential for the rebels as it is their principal transit point for weapons and fighters from across the border in Lebanon. It is also strategic for the regime because it is located on the road linking Damascus with the Mediterranean coast, its rear base.

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