Heavy fighting raged yesterday around the strategic border town of Qusair and the capital Damascus, amid renewed reports of chemical weapons attacks by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, reported Reuters.
Opposition activists said Syrian troops backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters were advancing in areas around Qusair, pressing a sustained assault on a town long used by rebels as a way station for arms and other supplies from Lebanon.
Assad’s forces now hold about two-thirds of Qusair, said one activist who asked not to be named. Rebel reinforcements from elsewhere in Syria were trying to relieve the pressure, but their attacks had bogged down on the outskirts.
Meanwhile, AP reported, Syria’s Information Ministry says rebels have killed a TV correspondent who was covering clashes near the border with Lebanon.
The ministry says Yara Abbas, a prominent female war reporter for state-owned Al-Ikhbariyah TV, was attacked by rebels near the military air base of Dabaa in the central province of Homs.
Fierce clashes cut the highway running north from Damascus to the central city of Homs and shook the eastern outskirts of the capital, where dozens of people were suffering the effects of an apparent chemical attack, opposition sources said.
Video posted online from the eastern suburb of Harasta showed lines of victims lying on the floor of a large room, covered in blankets and breathing from oxygen masks.
A rocket was fired from south Lebanon towards Israel on Sunday, Lebanese security sources said, and residents of a northern Israeli town reported hearing a blast.
“An explosion was heard. Soldiers are searching the area. The cause is still being investigated,” an Israeli military spokeswoman said. A second Israeli military source said the explosion was probably caused by a mortar.
The incident came amid heightened tensions in the region over Syria’s civil war. Damascus has said it will respond to Israeli air strikes earlier this month against suspected Iranian missiles in Syria destined for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.
Source: The Daily Star