Syria: Heavy clashes between soldiers and rebels around the town of Qusair near Lebanon border

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Syrian troops backed by pro-government gunmen fought fierce battles with rebels on Saturday in a strategic area in Homs province near the Lebanese border, activists and state media in Damascus reported.

The latest fighting came as U.S. officials said the Obama administration was poised to send millions more in non-lethal military aid to rebels trying to oust President Bashar Assad.

The clashes around the contested town of Qusair, close to the Syria-Lebanon boundary, had intensified over the past two weeks amid a fresh offensive by the Syrian army and a pro-government militia known as Popular Committees, backed by the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group.

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