BEIRUT, May 19 (RIA Novosti) - The Syrian army opened up a huge offensive on Sunday against rebel forces on four fronts, Lebanese TV channel Al Mayadin reported.
Government troops attacked in Al Qusayr (Homs Province), Hama Province, Bars region (Damascus Province) and Deraa in the south on the border with Jordan, in what experts quoted by the channel said was an operation of unprecedented scale.
The attack on Al Qusayr involved militia from the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, an ally of the Assad regime, Al Jazeera reported. In a rare media interview on Saturday, President Assad denied his country's forces had outside assistance.
The Syrian rebels have suffered losses in the hundreds, as the offensive was opened with massive artillery fire, Syrian and Lebanese media said. Civilians fled Al Qusayr via a "safe corridor" in the west of the city, Al Mayadin reported.
Lebanon's national news agency reported a rocket strike from Syria had hit the town of Hermel in the north of Lebanon, just inside the border. There was no word of casualties as a result.
Syrian forces are continuing an operation against rebel forces in the eastern and northern suburbs of Damascus. In Bars the army has killed over 50 rebel troops and has taken control of the area, Al Mayadin said.