'22 Hizbullah Fighters Killed' in Qusayr on Saturday

Twenty-two Hizbullah members were killed in fighting alongside Syrian government forces against rebels for control of the town of Qusayr, a source close to the Lebanese group said on Sunday.

"There were 22 killed on Saturday. Nine bodies were repatriated the same day and the rest on Sunday," the source said, declining to be named.

The source also said regime forces backed by fighters of Hizbullah control 80 percent of the strategic town of Qusayr.

"We still have to take another 20 percent of Qusayr, since we took 10 percent on Sunday and the rest was already in our hands," the source said, declining to be named.

In addition, "the main road between (Lebanon's) Baalbek and (Syria's) Homs has been secured," he said, referring to a vital artery through which the Lebanese group sends men and equipment to Syria.

The Syrian army announced that on Saturday its forces had infiltrated Dabaa military airport, a rebel post north of Qusayr, a week into a Hizbullah-backed offensive to recapture the strategic central town near the Lebanese border.

"Fighting is taking place inside the airport after they broke the rebel defense lines," an army source said.

The source close to Hizbullah said the armed group has now lost a total of almost 110 fighters since it joined the battle in Syria several months ago, with most of the deaths in and around Qusayr.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Hizbullah lost 10 fighters in Qusayr on Saturday, out of a total of 147 people killed in violence across Syria, including 79 rebels, 32 soldiers and 26 civilians.

Source: Agence France Presse

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