Syria conflict: Fierce battle for key town of Qusair
Fighting has raged in Syria's town of Qusair after government troops launched a major operation to seize the strategic rebel stronghold.
State media said the army "restored security and stability" to most of the town - a claim denied by activists.
Lebanese militants are said to be involved - Hezbollah siding with the army, Sunni gunmen with the rebels.
More than 50 people have reportedly been killed. The fighting has also spilled into Lebanon.
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image of Jim Muir Jim Muir BBC News, Beirut
What appears to be a concerted government attempt to recapture Qusair from the rebels had been in the making for some time.
In a sense, Qusair had already fallen militarily, since the rebels appear to have lost control of most of the surrounding villages and countryside adjacent to the Lebanese border.
It adds to a string of setbacks rebels have suffered in recent weeks, especially along the Lebanese and Jordanian borders and around Damascus itself.
Rebel commanders blame their recent losses on the drying-up of arms supplies from outside. Qatar and others are reported to have recently cut deliveries, perhaps in response to US reservations about enabling a victory by a rebel movement in which the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front is playing a lead role.
Certainly the government forces, bolstered by apparently open-ended support from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, have in recent weeks had a new spring in their step.
Several mortar rounds fired from Syria struck Lebanon's north-eastern town of Hermel, Lebanon's National News Agency said, but no casualties or major damage were reported.