Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Syria army deals severe blow to rebels in key town

BAALBEK, Lebanon — Syrian troops and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies captured a strategic border town Wednesday after a grueling three-week battle, dealing a severe blow to rebels and opening the door for President Bashar Assad's regime to seize back the country's central heartland.

The regime triumph in Qusair, which Assad's forces had bombarded for months without success, demonstrates the potentially game-changing role of Hezbollah in Syria's civil war. The gain could also embolden Assad to push for all-out military victory rather than participate in peace talks being promoted by the United States and Russia.

The Shiite militant group lost dozens of fighters in the battle for Qusair, underlining its commitment in support of Assad's regime and edging the fight in Syria further into a regional sectarian conflict pitting the Middle East's Iranian-backed Shiite axis against Sunnis.

Most of the armed rebels in Syria are members of the country's Sunni Muslim majority, while Assad has retained core support among the country's minorities, including his own Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, along with Christians and Shiite Muslims.

Both sides had dug in for an all-out battle for Qusair, a key crossroads town of supply lines between Damascus and western and northern Syria that had been under rebel control since early last year.

This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian army troops hold up national flags in the town of Qusair, near the Lebanon border, Homs province, Syria, Wednesday, June 5, 2013. The Syrian army triumphantly announced Wednesday the capture of a strategic town near the Lebanese border, telling the nation it has “cleansed” the rebel-held Qusair of “terrorists” fighting President Bashar Assad’s troops. The capture of the town, which lies close to the Lebanese border, solidifies some of the regime’s recent gains on the ground that have shifted the balance of power in Assad’s favor in the Syrian civil war. (AP Photo/SANA) BEI103

Associated Press

This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian army troops hold up national flags in the town of Qusair, near the Lebanon border, Homs province, Syria, Wednesday, June 5, 2013. The Syrian army triumphantly announced Wednesday the capture of a strategic town near the Lebanese border, telling the nation it has “cleansed” the rebel-held Qusair of “terrorists” fighting President Bashar Assad’s troops. The capture of the town, which lies close to the Lebanese border, solidifies some of the regime’s recent gains on the ground that have shifted the balance of power in Assad’s favor in the Syrian civil war. (AP Photo/SANA) BEI103

Syria army deals severe blow to rebels in key town 06/05/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 10:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Watch: Gorilla dances like a 'maniac' in kiddie pool

    Blogs

    Zola, a gorilla who resides at the Dallas Zoo, has gone viral after showing off his dance moves.
  2. Bill Clinton coming to Miami Beach on Saturday for mayors' convention

    Blogs

    From our friends at the Miami Herald:

    Former President Bill Clinton gives the opening address to kick off a meeting of International Aid Groups at the InterAction Forum 2017 at the Washington Convention Center on June 20.
  3. Obama's secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin's election assault

    National

    WASHINGTON — Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried "eyes only" instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Barack Obama shake hands at the COP21 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France, Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. [Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP]
  4. GOP's challenge: Finding votes for Senate health care bill (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally unwrapped his plan for dismantling President Barack Obama's health care law. Now comes his next challenge — persuading enough Republicans to back the measure and avert a defeat that could be shattering for President Donald Trump and the GOP.

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks to reporters at the Capitol after Republicans released their long-awaited bill to scuttle much of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017. He is one of four GOP senators to say they are opposed it but are open to negotiations, which could put the measure in immediate jeopardy. [Associated Press]
  5. Trigaux: Halfway through 2017, a closer look at six drivers of the Tampa Bay economy

    Business

    We're nearly halfway through 2017 already, a perfect time to step back from the daily grind of business and ask: How's Tampa Bay's economy doing?

    Is there one theme or idea that captures the Tampa Bay brand? Not really but here's one possibility. The fun-loving annual Gasparilla "Invasion" of Tampa is captured in this photo of 
The Jose Gasparilla loaded with pirates of Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla on its way this past January to the Tampa Convention Center. In the future a vibrant downtown Tampa or St. Petersburg may be the better theme. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]