28 Hizbullah Fighters Killed in Qusayr, 70 Injured

At least 28 Hizbullah fighters were killed in battles in the Syrian border town of al-Qusayr, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.

"Twenty-eight members of Hizbullah's elite forces were killed in the clashes that have been ongoing since yesterday in the town of Qusayr," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France Presse.

Earlier, Abdel Rahman said 23 fighters were killed and more than 70 others were wounded in clashes Qusayr on Sunday.

Al-Arabiya satellite news channel had reported that around 20 Hizbullah fighters and 62 others wounded in battles in Qusayr were submitted to hospitals in Beirut.

The news channel said that the fighters killed in the battles included Hassan Faisal Shukur, who is the nephew of Lebanese Baath Party leader Fayez Shukur.

Others were identified as Mohammed Fouad Rabah, Ahmed Wael Raad, Mohammed Qaseem Abdul Sater, Radwan Qassem al-Attar, Hatem Hussein.

Meanwhile, Radio Voice of Lebanon (100.5) identified 15 of the slain fighters as Abdou al-Moussawi, Hasan Hariri, Ali Masr, Rida Ashour, Hajj Ahmed Wael Raad, Mohammed Qassem Abdul Sater, Ridwan al-Attar, Hasan Shukur, Mohammed Fouad Rabah, Hatem Hussein, Abbas Mohammed Othman, Hussein Ammar Yaghi, Mohammed Khalil Shahrour, Abdou Salman and Mohammed Mazloum.

Qusayr is home to about 20,000 residents and has been besieged for weeks by Syrian government troops.

Opposition activists said Hizbullah members launched on Sunday the assault on the town along with President Bashar Assad's troops in the area.

Qusayr is strategically important because it is close to the Lebanese border and it links Damascus with the coast, where regime loyalists are concentrated. This includes Alawites to which the Assad family belongs.

Hizbullah sources told Agence France Presse on Sunday that at least four fighters have been killed in Qusayr.

Hizbullah is a close ally of the Damascus regime, and its fighters have been battling alongside the army in the Qusayr area for weeks, according to activists.

A handful of Hizbullah fighters killed in Syria have been brought back for burial in Lebanon, with senior officials from the group occasionally paying condolences in person to the families of those killed.

The Observatory said that at least 55 people were killed in Qusayr on Sunday, most of them rebels, excluding those Hizbullah fighters and regime soldiers.

Hizbullah leader sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has acknowledged that members of his movement are fighting alongside Syrian troops against the rebels seeking Assad's ouster.

The uprising, which began in March 2011, has left more then 94,000 people dead according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog.

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