1. BATTLE

    Syrian Troops Take Rebel Stronghold

    AFP EXCLUSIVE
Syrian troops celebrate as they take control of the village of Haydariyah, some seven kilometers outside the rebel-held city of Qusayr, on May 13, 2013. Syrian troops captured three villages in the strategic Qusayr area of Homs province, allowing them to cut supply lines to rebels inside Qusayr town, a military officer told AFP. AFP PHOTO/JOSEPH EID        (Photo credit should read JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images)

    Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty

    Syrian troops—according to rebels, with the help of Lebanon’s Hezbollah—pushed deeper on Monday into the rebel stronghold of Qusayr, which has been under control of the opposition for a year. Syrian state media reported that the town, located near the Lebanese border and a key position on the road to Damascus, is now mainly under control of Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Opposition activists said at least 52 of their fighters have been killed in the battle, while 13 Hezbollah fighters were reportedly killed. Syrian troops and Hezbollah fighters launched the offensive in Qusayr on Sunday, one day after Assad gave a rare interview—where he insisted his forces are not using “fighters from outside Syria, of other nationalities, and needs no support from any Arab or foreign state.”  It’s unclear how many civilians are trapped in Qusayr, although opposition activists put the number at close to 40,000.

    Read it at Al Jazeera English