government forces and Hezbollah
launched a fierce campaign to seize more rebel territory in the border town of Qusair on Saturday, sources on both sides of the conflict said. More than 22 people in opposition-held areas were killed, most of them rebels, and dozens were injured, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad
said additional tanks and artillery had been deployed around opposition-held territory in Qusair, a Syrian town close to the Lebanese
"I've never seen a day like this since the battle started," said Malek Ammar, an activist speaking from the town by Skype. "The shelling is so violent and heavy. It's like they're trying to destroy the city house by house."
Syrian rebels near Qusair (Photo: AP)
Qusair in ruins earlier this week (Photo: AFP)
Rebels are largely surrounded in Qusair, a town of 30,000 that has become a strategic battleground. Assad's forces want to take the area to secure a route between the capital Damascus and his stronghold on the Mediterranean coast, effectively dividing rebel-held territories in the north and south.
The opposition has been fighting back, seeing it as critical to maintain cross-border supply routes and stop Assad from gaining a victory they fear may give him the upper hand in proposed US-Russia led peace talks next month.
Assad's forces are believed to have seized about two-thirds of Qusair, but the price has been high and rebels insist they are preventing any further advances.
Assad and Hezbollah forces have also been working to capture territory in areas surrounding Qusair. Manar TV, Hezbollah's media wing, said the Syrian army recaptured the Dabaa airport near the town, which rebels had seized several weeks ago.
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