May 23, 2013 (TSR) – The Syrian army has successfully concluded the first phase of its operation in the strategic western city of Qusayr.
According to reports from the city, an unknown number of security agents from different foreign countries have been detained or killed during the operation.
Syrian forces have inflicted major losses on the militants in Qusayr, destroying their weaponry and equipment.
The Syrian army has also found several caches of weapons, mostly containing Israeli-made ammunition.
Qusayr, which is located in the central province of Homs, has been the scene of fierce clashes between Syrian forces and militants over the past few days.
The senior commander of the terrorist group al-Nusra Front, Abu Omar, was among those killed in battle on May 21.
The crisis in Syria began in March 2011.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on May 18 that militants from 29 different countries were fighting against the government in different parts of the country.
President Assad also said in April that the situation in Syria was improving as the army enjoyed people’s support in the fight against terrorism.
The Syrian army said in a statement issued on May 21 that it had destroyed an Israeli military vehicle that drove toward the village of Bir Ajam, located in the Israeli-occupied Syrian territory of the Golan Heights.
Syrian Army detains Saudi, Qatari officers caught aiding rebel forces
The Syrian Army has captured scores of foreign fighters, including those from Qatar and European Union states reported by World Tribune.
Arab diplomatic sources said the Army detained Qatari military officers as well as a senior ally of the Saudi intelligence community in the rebel-held town of Qusair. They said the Saudi captured near the Lebanese border was identified as an agent of the Saudi intelligence agency.
“Syria has already informed Qatar of the arrests and demanded an explanation,” a diplomat said.
The sources said the Qatari officers had directed the flow of weapons and funds to the Sunni revolt in Syria. They said the officers were also mentoring rebel operations, which have included thousands of foreign fighters.
A Lebanese parliamentarian said the Syrian Army also captured military advisers from Belgium, Britain, France and Netherlands in Qusair. Assim Qansou, regarded as a pro-Syrian deputy, said dozens of foreign military officers were arrested and interrogated.
Qatar has been identified as the leading Arab supporter of the Sunni revolt. The sources said Qatar was believed to have funneled more than $500 million to recruit fighters and procure weapons that fueled the two-year war against Assad.
In April 2013, the European Union acknowledged that at least 500 nationals were fighting with the rebels against the regime of President Bashar Assad. Britain, France and Ireland were said to have provided the largest number of European fighters.
“Not all of them are radical when they leave, but most likely many of them will be radicalized there, will be trained,” EU counter-insurgency chief Gilles de Kerchove said.
The diplomatic sources said Qatar has denied any link to the nationals captured in Qusair. The sources said the Doha regime has
maintained that the Qataris had long left military service and arrived in Syria on their own.
On May 21, heavy fighting continued in Qusair, some 10 kilometers from Lebanon. The Assad regime, aided by Iran’s proxy, Hizbullah, has reported the capture of the eastern portion of Qusair, a town of 30,000.
“It is the most visible effort we have seen by Hizbullah to engage directly in the fighting in Syria as a foreign force, and we understand there are also Iranians up there,” a senior U.S. official said in a State Department briefing on May 21. “This is an important thing to note — the direct implication of foreigners on Syrian soil for the regime.”