Shortly after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pledged Sunday, May 19, to maintain Israeli operations in Syria against the passage of advanced Iranian weapons to the Lebanese Hizballah, Syrian troops and their Hizballah comrades stormed Al-Qasayr, the northwestern town which commands the high road from Syrian Homs to Lebanon’s Hermel Mountains.
This was a major victory: Iranian arms for Hizballah can now go through from Syria to destination unobstructed.
In more than two years of battling the Assad regime, this was one of the rebels’ most devastating losses after three weeks of bitter fighting and the last of a whole row of recent setbacks.
Bashar Assad in contrast has gained huge advantages from his al Qusayr victory, as DEBKAfile’s military sources report:
1. It cuts off the Syrian rebels’ main supply and communications route via Lebanon through which their Arab backers Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE to send them fighters, arms and funds.
2. Rebel positions in the nearby town of Homs become increasingly vulnerable, as the Syrian army regains control of the main highway links between Damascus, Homs and Aleppo.