Syrian Army Surrounds Strategic Town of Qusayr

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A Syrian Army truck patrols the area past dirt barriers which separate Lebanon from Syria in the Bekaa Valley region of al-Qaa in eastern Lebanon on 21 October 2011. (Photo: AFP - Joseph Eid)

Published Monday, April 22, 2013

In the course of two days, the Syrian army took over most of the territory surrounding the strategic town of Qusayr, cutting off the opposition’s supply lines from nearby Lebanon.

The Syrian army continued to make advances against opposition forces, this time in the strategic area of Rif Qusayr along both banks of the Assi River near the border with Lebanon.

Qusayr has played a key role in the conflict due to its proximity to the Lebanese border, where weapons, supplies, and fighters are smuggled through the rugged hills near the Lebanese town of Ersal.

For months now, the opposition has had complete control of the city of Qusayr, with an ability to reach north to Homs and south to the northern suburbs of Damascus, where government forces are waging ferocious battles with the opposition.

However, the western banks of the Assi River – home to many Lebanese villages located inside Syrian territory – remained under the control of the army with support from the local Popular Committees, which are in turn backed by Hezbollah. The opposition nevertheless had the ability to cross over to the western side of the river where it enjoyed a strong presence in some villages.

The situation began to change around ten days ago when the Syrian military took the area of Nabi Mando, which not only overlooks most of Rif Qusayr but also contains a bridge connecting the two banks of the river. They also managed to take the town of Ibil to the north, effectively cutting Qusayr off from Homs.

The battles in these areas came at a heavy cost to the opposition. Calls for assistance appeared on their social media sites, saying that Syrian army and Hezbollah forces were closing in on Qusayr.

While some local sources suggested that the army’s offensive will not end until it has expelled the opposition from Qusayr, others said that the target of the operation is limited to isolating the city and preventing the fighters in it from either moving north to Homs or south toward the suburbs of Damascus.

At the same time as the Qusayr operation, the Syrian army carried out a similar offensive to the southwest of Damascus, where again the opposition lost ground and took some heavy casualties. Here again, the military’s objective is to cut off the smuggling of weapons coming from opposition-held areas in the Golan to fighters in the capital’s suburbs.

According to close observers, these military operations are part of an overall plan to cut off the opposition’s supply lines from Lebanon in the west, Jordan in the south, and Turkey in the north, while at the same time expanding what the regime is calling a “secure zone,” starting with the areas around Damascus and Homs.

(Al-Akhbar)

Comments

Wonderful news, the foreign backed terrorists are getting some of their own medicine. I believe Assad can defeat this western-backed war on Syria, so long as Russia and China prevent the North American Terrorist Organisation from committing similar interventive atrocities to those they committed in Libya.

Great news for Syria. Go Syrian Arab army! Defeat washington's terrorists.

Good news for Syria. Hopefully these terrorists will be completely defeated by the Syrian army soon. The west made a huge mistake by supporting terrorists against a secure secular government. Assad is not the tyrant the media makes him out to be. Opposite is closer to the truth. This scheme worked on Gadaffi, do the west gave it a shot in Syria, but the people weren't having it. Lybia is a mess now.. Nice democracy...wahabism

What does qualify the mentioned villages in Syria as Lebanese?
I do understand that these villages are Shia and obviously giving the artificial nature of the demarcation there are living members of the same families/clans on both side of the frontier. But I ask myself if there is there more to that.
Can anyone elaborate on the topic?

(I'm not from the region, inquiring out of an interest to understand not to provoke any sensitivities...)

The inhabitants have Lebanese citizenship and vote in Lebanese elections. They are basically Lebanese expats living just across the border- a border that did not exist a century ago.

it's not only that the inhabitants of the villages are shia, but they are actually lebanese citizens, not syrian citizens.

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