News / Middle East

Syrian Troops, Hezbollah Attack Rebel-Held Qusair

In this May 18, 2013 citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens shows Syrians inspecting the rubble of damaged buildings due to government airstrikes, in Qusair, Homs province.
In this May 18, 2013 citizen journalism image provided by Qusair Lens shows Syrians inspecting the rubble of damaged buildings due to government airstrikes, in Qusair, Homs province.
VOA News
Syrian government troops backed by warplanes and Lebanese Hezbollah militants have attacked the rebel-held town of Qusair, as part of a weeks-long offensive to recapture the strategic area connecting Damascus to the Mediterranean coast.


Activists in the town, along the Lebanese border, said Sunday that security forces intensified their assault during the day, hitting Qusair with artillery and warplanes and destroying multiple homes.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 52 people were killed, including 48 rebel fighters.

A Syrian official told Western news agencies that government troops had captured the municipal headquarters and surrounding buildings. Syrian state television said security forces then began hunting down terrorists - the government's term for rebels fighting a two-year war to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

There was no independent confirmation.

One of the Islamist units defending Qusair (the al-Siddiq Brigade) said attempts to storm the town had failed. Another activist in the Qusair region said the rebel grip was tenuous but that the army was not in control.

Syrian troops had cut off Qusair on three sides and captured surrounding villages in recent weeks. The town lies near a highway from Damascus to the Syrian coast and 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.

Meanwhile, 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.

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.

You May Like

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Igor from: Russia
May 20, 2013 1:31 AM
It is very easy to see the true color of the USA and its allies. They support the rebels because they think they can rely on those terrorists to overthrow Syrian goverment, which is Russia's ally. How can you promote democracy in a country by depending on groups of terrorists?!!! The purpose of the West is to overthrow Mr. Assad, not to create a democratic society in Syria!
Why the West would like to overthrow Mr. Assad? Because they want to isolate Iran, Russia which are not their allies.


by: Anonymous
May 20, 2013 12:54 AM
The days are numbered for Bashar al Assad (the biggest terrorist in Syria) and Hezbollah. The world should know, that anyone who backs Bashar al Assad by arming him or backing him in any way is in fact aiding a criminal guilty of endless crimes and should be dealt with accordingly.

In Response

by: Gerardo from: USA
May 20, 2013 8:40 PM
Wrong on all counts. The biggest terrorists are those Sunni Saudi Arabians who are not belonging in Syria. They are cut from the same cloth as world's biggest terrorist, Osama bin Laden. Shiite and Alawite had nothing to do with 9/11. Why do you support the people who attacked us on 9/11? I was there, and I am telling the world you are wrong. The terrorists will be defeated, they will be hung from buildings and trees. Hezbollah is the most fearsome fighter in Muslim world. Sunni terrorists have no chance. Go home anonymous. Syria was at peace, now ruined because of small minds like yours.


by: George Kafantaris
May 19, 2013 11:44 PM
How are the Syrian Rebels supposed to deal with Assad's tanks, helicopters and planes?
And we wonder why they are resorting to terrorist bombings. Have we given them any other ostensible military support?
The conflict is in Syria but in fact it's about freedom in the rest of the world. Yet we have surrendered the keys to the free world to totalitarian regimes.
Yes, Russian and China -- completely devoid of any moral authority -- have succeeded in rendering us fully impotent in Syria.


by: SixSIxSix from: USA
May 19, 2013 10:50 PM
An active Hezbollah and Assad alliance is incredibly destabilizing for the Region. Syria seriously intervened in the Lebanese Civil War leaving a legacy of hatred and distrust. Lebanon could boil again over the fall out. Israel will not tolerate close cooperation and transfer of weapons. This thing could blow sky high through this kind of action.


by: Regula from: USA
May 19, 2013 9:53 PM
This entire blood bath in Syria and the untold suffering of the Syrian people could have been prevented if the so-called international community had in fact made an effort right away, at the beginning, when Assad was ready for negotiations time and again, to support such negotiations instead on insisting - against the wishes of the Syrians - that Assad had to go. The fact that the rebellion started with a desire for reforms but without replacing Assad - those were the true wishes of the people - was just simply ignored by the West cum Israel who instigated the civil war as a means to oust Assad. Now it can only be hoped, for the sake of the Syrian people, that Assad prevails and gets to oust the entire collection of islamist hoodlooms and thugs so a functioning state can be restored. And the west will do well to support Assad. The alternative is a failed state, indeterminate civil war among powergreedy factions and a stronghold for islamic militants. Or, in the alternative that the US intervenes: the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood at the helm of a country governed by Sharia, intolerant of minorities and in the longer run, the entire Middle East governed by the various factions of the Muslim Brotherhood - that is what Qatar wants. Although the Brotherhood is Sunni, it will have relations with Iran and Iraq, not the US in the first place. At this point, whatever the US does, it will have lost one more war - this one by instigation using jihadis to do the fighting. Assad is by far the better choice. Even the US gov will have to come to that insight.

In Response

by: moritz from: Germany
May 20, 2013 2:16 PM
Had the US do gooders not have tried to take advantage of this Situation the war would have never happen or been over within weeks. We do not need another Iraq even if that is what Israel wants

In Response

by: gig24
May 19, 2013 10:52 PM
Assad was a thug too,i heard.Anyway,if he gets to stay, Mr Putin must help immediately secure all borders. He must give part of is and to establish safe-heavens,the refugees shall use their land ,not someone else's.Later Assad then must register them and assimilate them.

In Response

by: Old Dog from: SE Asia
May 19, 2013 10:51 PM
Assad has always said Syrians have to decide, his term will end in 2014. Why can't the world, esp. French gov't, not able to see that it is so easy to hold him responsible for his words?


by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
May 19, 2013 4:47 PM
Truth -- in the second last paragraph of a long WSJ story "Syrian Forces Push to Retake Stronghold" today: "An assertive Mr. Assad, who still enjoys popular support, particularly among Syria's minorities, said his fate wouldn't be decided at peace talks that the U.S. and Russia are trying to convene in Geneva between the regime and the opposition."

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Spacei
X
Rosanne Skirble
January 27, 2015 5:05 PM
The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.
Video

Video Weekly Protests in Korea Keep Japanese WWII Atrocities Alive

Every week in Seoul protesters gather in front of the Japanese Embassy to demand an apology and reparations from Tokyo for the thousands of South Korean women who were forced into prostitution during World War II. Although this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, these protestors have helped keep the issue of comfort women alive and made it difficult for Japan to move beyond its past wartime atrocities. VOA's Brian Padden reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Exercise: New Prescription for Parkinsons Disease

Exercise could be the new prescription for Parkinson's Disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. More than six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinsons and they're traditionally treated with medication and surgery. Shelley Schlender has more.
Video

Video Brussels Shaken as New Greek Leader Challenges Europe’s Austerity Drive

Greece’s youngest-ever prime minister, 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, was sworn in Monday after his victorious far-left Syriza party entered a coalition with far right rivals. Tsipras says he will restore dignity to Greece by ending spending cuts. So begins a new chapter for the country at the epicenter of Europe’s economic crisis - a change that has sent tremors across the continent, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Oil Price Drop Troubles Texas Producers

As oil prices have fallen over the past several months, drilling operations have slowed in some parts of the United States - including Texas, the state that surpasses all others in energy production. The Lone Star State’s energy output has been boosted in recent years by development of resources trapped deep below ground in the Eagle Ford shale deposit, which stretches across south central Texas. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Karnes City, Texas, the drop in oil prices has created concerns,
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid