Syrian army takes city in Homs with Hezbollah's help
The Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group, declared victory over a second city in the central province of Homs, Al Arabiya television channel reported on Wednesday.
Tal Kalakh, three kilometers from the Lebanese border, has become the second city to fall under the control of the Syrian regime.
Earlier in June, the Syrian regime declared control of the strategic town of Qusayr, close to the border with Lebanon.
Meanwhile, pro-Syrian regime websites circulated video footage of soldiers patrolling the town in armored cars and on foot, Reuters reported.
“Terrorist groups infiltrated and terrorized the local people,” Reuters quoted an army officer as saying in the video.
“In response to the request of the local people, the army entered Tal Kalakh to cleanse the area and restore security.”
In the early stages of the conflict, Tal Kalakh, like Qusayr, was used by the rebels as a transit point to smuggle weapons and fighters.
The Syrian regime, backed by Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, has far more power on the ground.
Hezbollah fighters are also spread out in areas neighboring Lebanon. Activists have reported their presence in the northwestern province of Aleppo and the Syrian capital, Damascus.
The declared victory came after the opposition Free Syrian Army said last week that it had received weapons that could change the balance of power on the ground.
Western and Arab nations pledged at the weekend to send urgent military aid to the rebels in light of Hezbollah’s overt backing to the Syrian regime.
The two-year Syrian conflict started as protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime but morphed into a civil war.
The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group, reported.
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