Syria opposition says reinforcements reach battle town

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The Syrian opposition said Friday that hundreds of rebel reinforcements, most close to the Muslim Brotherhood, have reached the strategic town of Qusayr to try to repel an attack by Hezbollah-backed army troops.

“Around 1,000 fighters from across Syria” have penetrated the rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border, the opposition National Coalition's interim leader George Sabra told reporters in Istanbul.

Liwa al-Tawhid, a Qatari-backed armed group close to the Muslim Brotherhood, meanwhile, said on its Facebook page that its fighters had reached the besieged town.

“Hundreds” of rebels have broken through army lines near the village of Shamsinn, northeast of Qusayr, after losing 11 fighters, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Sabra earlier this week issued a call for rebel fighters to converge on Qusayr from across Syria and for the international community to provide a humanitarian corridor for thousands of trapped civilians.

The United States has demanded the immediate withdrawal from Syria of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement whose fighters have spearheaded the two-week-old assault to cut off rebel fighters in Qusayr.

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