Syrian Rebels Lose Strategic Town of Qusair

Reuters06.06.2013 Syria
Syrian Rebels Lose Strategic Town of Qusair

Syrian Rebels Lose Strategic Town of Qusair

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Syrian government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies seized control of the border town of Qusair on Wednesday, dealing a major defeat to rebel fighters battling to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Two weeks of heavy fighting reduced many buildings to mounds of twisted concrete, whole blocks flattened by shelling, with glass and rubble littering the streets as tired but delighted Syrian soldiers gathered at the bullet-riddled clock tower.

“We will not hesitate to crush with an iron fist those who attack us. ... Their fate is surrender or death,” the Syrian Armed Forces Command said in statement. “We will continue our string of victories until we regain every inch of Syrian land.”

An opposition group from the town said more than 500 rebels had died in two weeks of fighting, with a further 1,000 wounded, leaving just 400 outgunned men struggling to hold onto the town.

The survivors decided to escape in the night through a corridor that the attackers said they had deliberately left open to encourage flight.

Qusair lies on a cross-border supply route with Lebanon, and its capture secures an important corridor through the central Province of Homs which links Damascus to the coast.

“Whoever controls Qusair controls the centre of the country, and whoever controls the centre of the country controls all of Syria,” said Syrian Brigadier-General Yahya Suleiman, speaking to Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen television.

He added that the military focus may now move to the Northern Province of Aleppo, which has been largely in rebel hands for the last year.

The rebels said in a statement they had pulled out “in face of this huge arsenal and a lack of supplies and the blatant intervention of Hezbollah”.


Source: Reuters; Al-Mayadeen



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