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Syrian military officer on status in Qusayr: There is no escape for rebel fighters now

Last modified: 24 May 2013 21:37

Syrian troops have captured much of the rebel stronghold of Qusayr, in central Homs province, squeezing opposition fighters into the north of the strategic town, a military officer told AFP on Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said regime forces backed by members of Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group were bombing northern areas of the city, encircling rebel fighters there.

"The armed men are surrounded on all sides, there is no escape for them now," the officer told an AFP journalist accompanying army forces in the embattled town.

The regime uses the term "armed men" to refer to the rebel forces fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The battle will continue until the complete liberation of Qusayr. We're in the second and penultimate phase of the fight," the officer said.

The Syrian army, backed by Hezbollah fighters, began on Sunday their assault on Qusayr.

They advanced into the south, east and west of the city, quickly claiming the municipality building in the centre of town.

The eastern part of the town, which has been abandoned by residents, has effectively been transformed into a military barracks, the AFP journalist said.

Armoured vehicles, military positions and fortifications can been seen in every street and on every corner.

Soldiers are posted on all the buildings overlooking the northern part of the town.

Source: AFP 

Photo: AFP: A picture taken on May 23, 2013 shows heavily damaged buildings in a neighbourhood in the eastern city of Qusayr, bordering Lebanon in Syria's Homs province