Syrian Troops, Hizbullah Advance in Zabadani

Syrian government forces backed by Hizbullah have advanced from different directions in the mountain resort of Zabadani near the border with Lebanon, Syrian state media reported.

Syrian opposition groups have accused the government and Hizbullah of displacing thousands of Sunnis from areas along the border with Lebanon and preventing them from returning to their homes.

Syrian troops and Hizbullah have been besieging Zabadani since early July, and have faced strong resistance from gunmen inside the resort.

Syria's state news agency SANA said Wednesday that the fighting has left dozens of militants dead.

The capture of Zabadani would tighten Hizbullah's grip on Syrian territories bordering Lebanon and help secure the highway linking Beirut with the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Hizbullah has said it is fighting alongside President Bashar Assad's forces to protect Lebanon from Sunni extremists.

Source: Associated Press

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