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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid