Syrian army "hunting" rebels north of Qusair
After defeating the rebel forces in the northern town of Qusair earlier this week, the Syrian regime has been hunting pockets of resistance in the north of the country so as to entirely eliminate their existence, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.
According to the Observatory, Assad's forces have been calling for backups to enter the northern province of Aleppo, an area that has been a rebel bastion for the past year.
"Clashes broke out at dawn between the army and rebels on the outskirts of Dabaa village" north of Qusayr near the border with Lebanon, said the Britain-based group which relies on activists and medics on the ground for its information, according to AFP.
Hezbollah's TV channel Al Manar quoted a general as saying his forces had launched a surprise attack, according to AFP.
A second rebel stronghold, Eastern Bweida, just north of Qusair was still being bombarded by regime artillery, despite being full of wounded and civilians, AFP reported.
"Four rebels were killed on Thursday evening while trying to evacuate wounded," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France Presse.
15 rebels were killed on Thursday in the regime attacks on Dabaa and Eastern Bweida, the group said.
Experts on the Syrian crisis are now expecting Assad's forces to turn their attention on Homs. Some areas of the city are still in rebel hands.
The Observatory reported government forces were also accumulating in Aleppo province in the north, aiming to take rebel-held territory along the border with Turkey.