Syrian army storm rebel-held Qusayr
Syrian troops celebrate as they take control of the village of Haydariyah, some seven kilometers outside the rebel-held town of Qusayr (AFP/ Joseph Eid)
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The Syrian military, backed by Hezbollah, pounded the rebel-held town of Qusayr on Sunday, killing at least 13 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“After two days of calm, planes bombed the town of Qusayr in the early hours of the morning,” the watchdog's director Rami Abdel Rahman said.
At least 13 people, including rebels, were killed in these raids and in artillery and mortar fire by the army.
“It seems that this is preparation for a major operation,” he said.
Rebel forces have held the strategic town, which links Damascus with the coast, for months. However the Syrian army, bolstered by foreign fighters including Hezbollah militants, have won a number of battles around the town in recent weeks. The Syrian air force last week dropped leaflets on the town, calling on residents to leave for their own safety.
The Syrian Revolution General Commission also reported heavy shelling on the ground on Sunday morning.
“A rain of shells on the city, at the same time as artillery fire and mortar fire from dawn. Homes were destroyed and burnt down,” the group said.