A snapshot of Qusayr: Voices from a city ravaged by war


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The Independent Online

The Syrian city of Qusayr has seen fierce fighting during the past three weeks as government troops, supported by Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, have sought to take it back from the rebel control.

Few journalists have been able to reach the city, but refugees fleeing across the border into Lebanon have described it as a “ ghost town,” heavily damaged by rocket fire and regime air strikes.

Various reports have suggested that Hezbollah fighters have taken the lead in the offensive, and although they have met resistance from rebels, they have been able to retake parts of the city.

The Independent spoke via Skype to activists and rebel fighters inside the city yesterday afternoon, during a brief lull in fighting. You can listen to them below.

They described a scene of devastation - flattened buildings, hospitals low on medical supplies and civilians trapped between the fighting with no escape route.

Rifaie Tammas, 24, is an activist and supporter of the Free Syrian Army. Before the start of the civil war he was an English teacher. He has lived in Qusayr all his life.

Hezbollah makes “huge advances.”

“Everything in Qusair is destroyed.”

“People are panicking”

A rebel fighter describes the lack of medical supplies in the city