At least 40 Hezbollah fighters were killed in the Syrian town of Qusayr late on Sunday, sources told Al-Arabiya.
Sources also told Al-Arabiya that tens of Hezbollah members were wounded during the clashes between Syrian rebels and regime forces who attempted to enter the town earlier in the day.
According to Al-Arabiya, the assault on Qusayr appeared to be part of a campaign by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to consolidate their grip on Damascus and secure links between the capital and the government strongholds on the coast via the contested central city of Homs.
State news agency SANA said the army had “restored security and stability to most Qusayr neighborhoods” and was “chasing the remnants of the terrorists in the northern district.”
Earlier in the day, Syrian State TV reported that Syrian troops had entered the center of Qusayr, seizing the town’s main square and its municipality building.
However, Hadi Abdullah, a Syrian activist speaking from Qusayr, denied to Al-Arabiya that the town had fallen into the hands of regime forces. The activist added that with support from Hezbollah militias, the Syrian regime is heavily shelling Qusayr, leveling civilian homes.
Meanwhile, sources said that Hezbollah official Fady al-Jazzar was reportedly among those killed. Al-Jazzar is considered to be a high ranking Hezbollah officer and was imprisoned in Israel until he returned to Lebanon in a prisoner-exchange deal.