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Rebel sources: 15 Hezbollah soldiers killed outside Damascus

Published: Updated:

At least 15 Hezbollah fighters were killed on Saturday by Syrian rebels in Damascus' Ghouta district, Al Arabiya television reported, citing opposition sources.

A video posted on the internet showed dead soldiers with Hezbollah label patches on their uniforms. Six wounded Hezbollah fighters were reportedly transferred to Lebanon for medical treatment.

Hundreds of fighters from the Lebanese Shiite guerrilla group were reportedly killed in Syria since the start of the civil war there about two years ago.

Hezbollah admitted sending soldiers to Syria, saying it seeks to protect sacred Shiite religious sites against potential attacks by the Sunni rebels.

The group helped the Syrian regime’s army retake the town of al-Qusayr, bordering Lebanon in May 2013.

Hundreds were believed to be killed in the battle of al-Qusayr, which began with heavy aerial bombardment. Rebels pulled out of the town after two weeks of fighting.

Iran, a major ally of Hezbollah and the Syrian regime, is also believed to have a strong military presence in Syria.

Various groups of Sunni militant groups have also sent fighters into Syria to battle alongside the rebels.