Dubai: The Free Syrian Army has reportedly killed 18 Hezbollah fighters in the Western city of Qusayr, activists at the Syrian Revolution General Commission reported on Tuesday.
Fierce clashes pitted Syrian rebels against troops and fighters loyal to the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah in several villages near Qusayr on the border with Lebanon on Tuesday, a watchdog said. Meanwhile, a military source said the army expects to seize the town of Qusayr, a rebel stronghold, “within days.”
“The army is leading the campaign on the northern and eastern fronts, and Hezbollah is leading the fight on the southern and western fronts,” said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman. “The army is advancing in the Qusayr region, and the capture of the city is just days away, at most,” the military source said on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, Lebanese security officials say two Syrian rockets have struck Lebanon, causing material damage. The officials say one of the rockets hit a house under construction on the edge of the northeastern town of Hermel near the border on Tuesday. They say the other fell in a field. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Several Syrian rockets have hit pre-dominantly Shiite areas in Lebanon over the past days, killing at least two people. Hezbollah says those fighting are Lebanese party members who have lived in Syrian border villages for decades and are defending themselves against “rebel attacks”.
On Monday, a Hezbollah official described the group’s actions as “a national and moral duty in the defence of the Lebanese in border villages”.
Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria’s spiralling conflict has been condemned by the Syrian opposition, which views it as a “declaration of war,” and by Lebanese opponents of the Shiite movement, who fear Lebanon may be dragged into Syria’s conflict.