Around 20 Hezbollah fighters have been reportedly killed in the Syrian town of Qusayr late on Sunday, sources told Al Arabiya, following clashes between Syrian rebels and regime forces who attempted to enter the town earlier in the day.
Sources also told Al Arabiya that tens of Hezbollah members were wounded during the fight and had been taken to hospitals in Beirut, Hermael and Baalbeck , Lebanon for treatment.
Meanwhile, sources said that Hezbollah official Fady al-Jazzar was reportedly among those killed. Al-Jazzar is considered to be a high ranking Hezbollah officer and was imprisoned in Israel until he returned to Lebanon in a prisoner-exchange deal.
News on his death came after contact was lost with the group that was under his command, Al Arabiya said.
Hezbollah denies taking part in Syria’s two-year conflict – which has killed at least 80,000 people, according to the U.N. However, the group – an ally of the Syrian regime – has held regular funerals of Hezbollah fighters, who – it said – were killed serving their “jihadi duties.”
Earlier in the day, Syrian State TV reported that Syrian troops had entered the center of the rebel stronghold of Qusayr, seizing the town’s main square and its municipality building.
However, Hadi Abdullah, a Syrian activist speaking from Qusayr, denied to Al Arabiya that the town had fallen into the hands of regime forces. The activist added that with support from Hezbollah militias, the Syrian regime is heavily shelling Qusayr, leveling civilian homes.
Syrian activists told Al Arabiya that regime airstrikes and heavy shelling of the strategic town, near the Lebanese border killed at least 58 people and left hundreds wounded, including opposition fighters.
Qusayr is home to about 20,000 residents and has been besieged for weeks by government troops.
Earlier in May, spokesperson of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) Louay Almokdad told Al Arabiya that Hezbollah was using artillery shells containing fatal Mustard Gas in the area.
The town is strategically important because it links Damascus with the coast, where regime loyalists are concentrated.
The Syrian Revolution General Commission, a network of activists on the ground, also reported intense bombardment of Qusayr.
Update 1 : An Nahar newspaper identified 13 of the Hezbollah fighters that were killed in Qusayr battle :
Abbas Mohammed Othman, Mohamed Fouad Rabah, Mohammad Qasim Abdul Sater, Ahmed Wael Raad, Radwan Al-Attar, Reza a Al Shaer, Hassan Hariri, Fadi al Jazzar , Ali Matar, Hussein Yaghi, Abdo QassasHatem Hassan and Ibrahim Hassan.
Update 2 : Hezbollah announced that:.
Hussein Ali Shahrour one of its officials that was killed on Saturday was buried in the town of Nabatiyeh
Hassan al Shukr ( 23) son of Faisal Shaker , who is responsible for Hezbollah cultural center in Bekaa was also killed in Syria.
Update 3: Yalla Souriya an opposition web site that provides live updates reported :
36 Hezbollah fighters killed and more than 110 injured.
Among the killed : 2 Hezbollah officials : Fady AL Jazzar and Hassan Nasrrallah’s brother in law Hussein Al Masri.
The website provided a video on the Qusayr battle