Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops- with the support of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters – regained control on Wednesday of the embattled strategic town of Qusair where fighting has raged with rebels for nearly three weeks, reports the Associated Press. Quasir has been enveloped in a three-week siege that pitched the powerful Shia militia against several thousand Sunni rebels – an event which has been called a defining battle of the civil war. This recent capture sheds light on the regime’s recent gains on the ground which have shifted the balance of power in the conflict towards Assad’s favor.
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Although state TV has reported that government forces have “restored security and peace” in the contested city, twitter reveals that there are still fierce battled circulating within the city.
Sounds like a very fluid battle is still on going in and around Al Quasir #Syria
— Hominoid555 (@hominoid555) June 5, 2013
The Qusair battle has also revealed Hezbollah’s growing role in Syria’s conflict. Hezbollah, which has been fighting alongside Assad’s troops, initially tried to play down its involvement. Now its involvement is irrefutable as dozens of its fighters were killed in Qusair and buried in large funerals in Lebanon.
Quasir is an incredibly strategic land for both sides of Syria’s devastating 2-year conflict. Quasir links two of Assads strongholds; the capital of Dmaascus and an area along the coast which is the “heartland” of the Alawites – a minority religious sect of which Assad is a part of. Rebel’s have had control of the town since the beginning of the revolution which bvegan March 2011. Quasir protected their supply line to Lebanon which is just 6 miles away.