The battle for Qusayr intensifies as rebel fighters broke through army lines to enter the Western Syria city near the Lebanese border, opposition activists have said.
Leader of the opposition, George Sabra, said about 1,000 extra fighters from across Syria had penetrated the city near the Lebanese border.
Syrian state media said on Friday that government forces had surrounded the city, and activists reported that regime troops had carried out a deadly attack on a convoy trying to evacuate wounded people from Qusayr.
The upsurge in fighting came as Lebanese politicians postponed a June parliamentary election until late next year owing to instability in neighbouring Syria and political deadlock at home.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that hundreds of rebels had broken through army lines near the village of Shamsinn, northeast of Qusayr, after losing 11 fighters.
The opposition coalition has appealed for the rescue of 1,000 civilians wounded in Qusayr, which Assad’s forces have been trying to seize back in an all-out offensive since May 19.
Qusayr-based activist Hadi Abdullah said the shelling of the convoy had killed nine people and wounded many others.
Abdullah said he was with the convoy evacuating scores of wounded people when troops started firing shells and machine guns, wounding about 80 people. Abdullah said the main makeshift hospital in the town was hit, and a home was turned into a clinic.
The battle for Qusayr has exposed Hezbollah’s growing role in the Syrian conflict that has reportedly killed more than 90,000 over the past two years.