Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops, backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, regained control today of the strategic town of Qusair where fighting has raged with rebels for nearly three weeks, according to state TV. The capture of the town near the Lebanese border solidifies some of the regime's recent gains on the ground that have shifted the balance of power in Assad's favor in the Syrian civil war.
In the past two months, the Syrian army has moved steadily against rebels in key battleground areas, making advances near the border with Lebanon and considerably lowering the threat to Damascus, the seat of Assad's government. The regime's capture of Qusair came as France and Britain announced that the nerve gas sarin was used in Syria's conflict. A UN probe also said it had "reasonable grounds" to suspect small-scale use of toxic chemicals in at least four attacks earlier this year. The BBC has video explaining more. (Read more Qusair stories.)