Heavy clashes between the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah and Syrian rebels have been taking place in a Damascus district, Ghouta, since Monday, activists said.
Recent reports of clashes in Ghouta emerged as opposition fighters battled President Bashar al-Assad’s forces aided by Hezbollah for control of the key rebel stronghold of Qusayr, a Syrian town near the Lebanese border.
The Shiite groups’ involvement in the Syrian civil war has stirred international condemnation with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stating that he was “deeply concerned” by Hezbollah’s role.
Activists said that thousands of Hezbollah fighters were training in an air force intelligence center in Al-Masraf region near Damascus International Airport, adding that the Lebanese group has taken over nine towns in the Al-Murj area neighboring Ghouta.
In more new, activists said that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on Monday in various areas, including Jawbar, Al-Baharayia.
The French foreign minister said on Monday that there were “mounting suspicisions” that the Assad regime was using chemical weapons.
However, Laurent Fabius added that “very detailed verification” was necessary.