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syrian rebel fighter on roof 370.(Photo by: REUTERS)
Fighting intensifies in Syria's north
Assad's forces, supported by Lebanese Hezbollah allies, gain ground, prepare offensive push; battles rage near Allepo.
AMMAN - Fighting is intensifying in northern Syria, where rebels say President Bashar Assad's forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies are preparing an offensive after success last week in seizing a strategic town further south.

The capture by Assad's forces and Hezbollah of the town of Qusair, which controls vital supply routes across Syrian and with Lebanon, is a sign of reversing momentum after the rebels seized swathes of the country in the second half of last year.

Battles raged on Sunday near Al-Nubbul and Zahra, two rural Shi'ite Muslim enclaves outside the commercial hub Aleppo in Syria's north, and intensified in Aleppo itself.

"The aim is to use the two villages as forward bases to make advances in Aleppo and its countryside," said Brigadier General Mustafa Al-Sheikh, a rebel commander and former senior officer in Assad' military, referring to government tactics.