Syrian rebel head: Immediate Western backing needed

Salim Idris: Outcome of revolution could depend on West.

June 1, 2013 08:07
1 minute read.
Free Syrian Army fighter  in Aleppo's Salaheddine neighbourhood, April 28, 2013

Free Syrian Army fighter 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Aref Hretani)

The chief of staff of the Syrian Opposition Supreme Military Council said forces fighting against the regime of President Bashar Assad could lose the revolution if the West did not act immediately, Qatar-based al-Jazeera reported on Saturday.

Brig.-Gen. Salim Idris warned his alleged 300 fighters in the city of Qusair were overwhelmed by Hezbollah operatives  fighting in the strategic post, and the outcome of the conflict could rely on the West's providing weapons to the rebels.

Rebels are largely surrounded in Qusair, a town of 30,000 that has become a strategic battleground. Assad's forces want to take the area to secure a route between the capital Damascus and his stronghold on the Mediterranean coast, effectively dividing rebel-held territories in the north and south.

Syrian government forces and Hezbollah launched a fierce campaign to seize more rebel territory in Qusair on Saturday, sources on both sides of the conflict said.

Rebels fighting to topple Assad said additional tanks and artillery had been deployed around opposition-held territory in the border town.

Syrian rebels had said that whatever the outcome, they will plot sectarian revenge attacks on Shi'ite and Alawite villages on either side of the border.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory, which has a network of activists across Syria, said Assad forces led by Hezbollah were trying to advance from three directions in the city.

"Every area they didn't have a foothold in, they are trying to gain one now," Rami Abdelraham, head of the Observatory, told Reuters by telephone.

Rebels from across Syria say they have sent some of their units into Qusair.

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