June 5 - Syrian forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies seized control of the border town of Qusair on Wednesday, dealing a strategic defeat to rebel fighters battling for two years to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. Mana Rabiee reports.
The Syrian government flag rises again over Qusair, after more than a year in rebel control. On Wednesday, Syrian state TV said forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have retaken control of the city, which sits on a critical supply route between Syria and Lebanon. Rebels retreated after what Hezbollah said was an overnight offensive, that marked Hezbollah's deepest involvement yet in Syria's civil war. It's just a matter of time, government loyalists say, before more cities are wrested from rebel hands. Turki Hassan, a strategic expert, watched events unfold from Damascus. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) STRATEGIC EXPERT TURKI HASSAN SAYING: "After Qusair, many more locations will be regained one after another. The army will not stop and it will continue its way in liberating all Syria and fighting terrorism." The battle for Qusair's exerted a heavy toll. Humanitarian agencies said some 1,500 wounded were trapped here. Amateur video released Tuesday, which Reuters cannot verify, purports to show a local hospital with dozens wounded. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) UNIDENTIFIED WOUNDED OLD MAN IN BED SAYING: "Arab countries have given us up and we are dying slowly…We are to die here and there's no one here for us." As soldiers secured Qusair's demolished streets, the government flag waved again on top of the damaged clock-tower in the city center.