News / Middle East

Hezbollah Militants Killed in Syria, Activists Say

Citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrians inspecting the rubble of damaged buildings due to government airstrikes, in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, May 18, 201Citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrians inspecting the rubble of damaged buildings due to government airstrikes, in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, May 18, 201
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Citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrians inspecting the rubble of damaged buildings due to government airstrikes, in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, May 18, 201
Citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows Syrians inspecting the rubble of damaged buildings due to government airstrikes, in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, May 18, 201
VOA News
Syrian activists say at least 23 Hezbollah militants have been killed in fighting for the town of Qusair, as Syrian forces press a weeks-long offensive to recapture the strategic area from rebels.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the deaths of the Lebanon-based militants Monday, saying more than 70 others were wounded.

Qusair is located along the Syrian-Lebanese border, and links Syria's capital Damascus to the Mediterranean coast.  There was no independent confirmation of who controlled the town Monday.  Controlling it would solidify President Assad's access to coastal regions largely inhabited by his minority Alawite sect.   Qusair also has formed part of a cross-border smuggling route for rebels.

Syrian state media said the army had "restored security" to most of Qusair and was pursuing "terrorist groups" in the town.  Syria uses the term "terrorists" to describe the rebels fighting a two-year war to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

  • Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (L) speaks with Shukri Bin Suleiman Harmasi (R), secretary general of the Tunisian Immutable Principles Party, during a meeting in Damascus, May 23, 2013.
  • A Syrian rebel fires shells against government forces in Idlib, northern Syria, May 23, 2013.
  • Security forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad take part in a field exercise at an undisclosed location, May 22, 2013. (SANA via Reuters)
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens shows people gathered by houses that were destroyed in an airstrike in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, May 21, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens shows a man checking his house that was damaged by an airstrike, Qusair, Homs, Syria, May 21, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens shows rebels preparing to repel an attack by government forces, in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, May 19, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens shows Syrians inspecting the rubble of buildings damaged in government airstrikes, in Qusair, Homs province, Syria, May 18, 2013.
  • A Free Syrian Army fighter fires back at the Syrian Army, Deir al-Zor, May 19, 2013.
  • People travel on the back of a pickup truck in Deir al-Zor, Syria, May 19, 2013.
  • Members of the Free Syrian Army cook food, Deir al-Zor, May 19, 2013.

The Reuters news agency quoted opposition activists saying rebel fighters had pushed back the government forces.

As Syrian refugees continue to stream into Jordan and Lebanon, the international aid group Oxfam warned that warmer summer weather will increase health-related risks due to a lack of shelter, water and basic sanitation.

Related video report by Scott Bobb
Syrian Rebels Suffer Setbacks From Fighting in Town Near Lebanon Borderi
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May 20, 2013 7:53 PM
Syrian government troops backed by fighters from Lebanon's Hezbollah movement have been in fierce battles in the rebel-held town of Qusair after weeks of fighting. Many wounded rebels are being treated across the nearby border in northern Lebanon. VOA's Scott Bobb spoke to some of them in Tripoli and has this report.
Increased cases of public health-related diseases such as diarrhea and skin infections have already been recorded in host communities and temporary settlements, where an increasing number of refugees now live.

In Lebanon's Bekaa Valley alone, there are now some 240 tented settlements, six times the number recorded in January.

As of May 2013, some 635,000 people are in need of assistance in Lebanon - both refugees and host communities - and Oxfam says it anticipates this number to increase to over 740,000 by November.

More than 80,000 people have been killed and several million displaced since the start of the rebellion against Assad in March 2011.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kafantaris from: USA
May 20, 2013 2:45 PM
“They're defending their fields, their land.”
“But those [Hezbollah] aggressors, what goal do they have? It’s not their town."
Dr. Zahereddine, whose brother is in Qusayr fighting with the Rebels.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
May 20, 2013 10:30 AM
At the beginning of the war Assad called for settlement but no one listened to him. Now there's bloodshed and everybody thinks Bassir should be blamed. What about democracy, what does it demand - that mobs should be formed to remove democratically elected governments? When did it become the norm to change governments by mob action and riots? The West is setting a wrong precedence by encouraging the rebels. Assad's use of Hezbollah, though regrettable, is a direct consequence of Western treachery and backstabbing. And the fear of shia islamisation took the Arab League to fall headlong in wanting urgently to uproot Assad. But with Russia and China standing solidly behind him, only a round table solution will bring an end to the crisis in Syria; unless someone calling the shots is happy with the blood birth out there.

by: Anonymous
May 20, 2013 9:28 AM
Instead of fighting a war back and forth town after town, these rebels need to go directly after Bashar al Assad the source of the war and capture him. They need to hold him responsible for the murder of thousands, and end the war with the Syrian Nation, and destroying most of the country. Bashars days are already over but it needs to be ended even faster.

by: Mukao from: uk
May 20, 2013 7:24 AM
Thats because they are terrorists. And the Syrian government is doing exactly what any other country would do to get rid of them. Western media sicks me
In Response

by: Anonymous
May 20, 2013 9:24 AM
Wrong, Bashar al Assad wipes out entire towns and villages, killing populations of their own people. Big difference, we have human rights laws, you do that and you become a war criminal. So you best do research before you say we would act like Bashar al Assad, think again. We want him served justice for the murder of thousands of his own people. Hezzbolah is already labelled a terrorist group, and if they are aiding Bashar, they are going to get a heavy back hand slap along with Bashar. All Bashar is doing is creating another proxy war within his already started war to try and sideline the fact he is a criminal himself. He has killed more innocent civilians times 100 vs killing terrorists. The end is nearing for Bashar but he is just trying to "Skip the subject", his crimes arent going away though they are just getting bigger. The world wants justice served to him for the deaths of tens of thousands innocent civilians.
In Response

by: Steve Collins
May 20, 2013 9:02 AM
You are wrong.. Hezbollah was killed by the rebel forces. hezbollah is helping Assad.

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