Syria

Syrian Troops Capture Qusair From Rebels

Civil War in its third year

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The Syrian army captured a strategic town near the Lebanese border on Wednesday after a grueling three-week battle, handing a heavy defeat to rebels and solidifying a shift in the country's civil war in favour of President Bashar Assad's regime.

Both sides had dug in for an all-out battle for Qusair, which rebels seized last year, a sign of its importance for both as a key crossroads of supply lines between Damascus and western and northern Syria. The regime assault also marked another key turning point in the conflict: the most overt involvement yet by its Lebanese Hezbollah allies, whose fighters boosted the military's firepower in overcoming the rebels.