BEIRUT: The opposition National Syrian Coalition said 15 fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah had been killed in recent battles against Syrian rebels in the village of Flita in Syria’s mountainous Qalamoun region on the border with Lebanon.
“In Qalamoun, 15 members of the terrorist Hezbollah militia have been killed in clashes with revolution fighters in the outskirts of Flita,” the coalition said in a statement Thursday.
It claimed that the rebels captured several new positions in the rugged region.
In the same statement, the coalition said the Syrian regime forces dropped several barrel bombs on the outskirts of the east Lebanon town of Arsal during clashes with rebels Thursday.
Hezbollah and regime forces retook a number of villages on the Syrian side of the border this spring, including Flita. The regime, backed by Hezbollah, has worked in recent months to clear out the remaining rebel fighters from Qalamoun, which has been used as a transit point for fighters and weapons entering the country from Lebanon.
On Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition-aligned group that documents causalities from the more than 3 year old civil war, reported that at least 561 Hezbollah fighters had been killed in Syria since it began openly fighting on the side of the regime early last year.
The resistance party says it is fighting in Syria to prevent Islamist militants from bringing the battle into Lebanon. Syrian rebels have been blamed for a spate of car bombs that rocked Lebanon over the past year, mainly targeting areas with Shiite majorities and Lebanese Army positions.