bekaa valley

bekaa valley

Syria: Government forces back in control of Qusayr outskirts

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1. W/S Syrian soldiers riding a tank 2. M/S car moving towards the Deba village 3. M/S Deba village road sign 4. W/S Village panorama in ruins 5. M/S Village in ruins 6. SOT Soldier (Arabic): "We carried out an operation against the rebel groups in Al-Qusayr and then an attack on the village of Deba and released hostages held in those areas. Now we will move towards the Eastern areas and other parts of the country." 7. M/S destroyed vehicle on the road 8. SOT Syrian Army commander (Arabic): "After yesterday evening's retaking of the village of Deba and the restoring of stability there, we managed to take over to the Al-Masudia village. In two hours we successfully managed to retake the village from the rebels groups and release residents that were held hostage in it." 9. M/S ruins of the village 10. SOT Interviewee (Arabic): "[The rebel forces] captured us and were holding us hostage for a whole day. Then they just left us near the stream." 11. W/S armoured vehicle SCRIPT Syria: Government forces back in control of Qusayr outskirts The Syrian Army announced on Saturday that it had retaken the village of Deba in the suburbs of the strategic city of Al-Qusayr, after fierce fighting with rebel groups on Thursday. The village represents the last opposition stronghold near Qusayr and was one of two strategic strongholds of rebel forces. The Syrian government also says that thousands of residents who for months were trapped in the area by rebel forces were finally allowed to escape, with an interviewee saying: "[The rebel forces] captured us and were holding us hostage for a whole day. Then they just left us near the stream." Rebels have reportedly been pushed back seven kilometres north-east of Deba to the village of Al-Buweida. The Al-Qusayr region is an enclave near the border with Lebanon, which was used by both the Free Syrian Army and government forces as a weapons and supplies route. The latest development in the offensive will allow the government to keep a passage open between the Bekaa valley and the Mediterranean coast for the Syrian army. However, many international observers believe that this military gain will determine the growing role of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah in the conflict, which has given armed support to the government. It also assures control over the main routes that connect this region with the capital, Damascus. A Syrian army commander also reported that Syrian forces have taken back the village Al-Masudiya: "After yesterday evening's retaking of the village of Deba and the restoring of stability there, we managed to take over to the Al-Masudia village. In two hours we successfully managed to retake the village from the rebels groups and release residents that were held hostage in it." Al-Qusayr has been during the last three weeks the frontline of the conflict. The Syrian conflict has in recent months spread beyond the borders, with Israel and Lebenese Hezbollah launching operations in Syria. Syria has recently procured arms from Russia, which Russia says will stabilise the conflict by providing a balance of power in the region and cooling down "hot-headed" interventionists.