A video posted Saturday on YouTube showed gunmen purportedly speaking with a Lebanese accent declaring Syria’s Al-Qusayr a “Shiite city,” after rebels lost the battle for the strategic area.
The men shown in the video raised a Shiite flag that read “Ya Hussein,” one of the Shiites’ most revered religious figures, on one of the city’s Sunni mosques. They were also chanting “we are the sons of Ali,” another key figure in the Shiite and Alawite Muslim confessions.
Al-Qusayr, a Sunni-majority city, has witnessed fierce clashes between Syrian regime forces, supported by fighters from the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, and rebel forces.
On Wednesday, the rebels conceded they had lost the battle for the strategic town after the army claimed it had seized total control of it and the surrounding region.
At the same time, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Hezbollah fighters, who had spearheaded the regime's assault, were in control of the town.
Control of Al-Qusayr was vital for the rebels as it was their principal transit point for weapons and fighters from neighboring Lebanon.
The group's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has acknowledged that members of his movement are involved in the Syria conflict which has so far left more than 94,000 people dead according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog.