Hezbollah ‘mercenaries’ helped a fearful Assad early in revolt: Leaks


Hezbollah, the Lebanese guerrilla movement and one of the strongest allies of the Baathist regime in Damascus, has consistently denied any role in the Syrian unrest.

The group even dismissed a video aired on Al Arabiya in August showing a man named Hassan Salim al-Meqdad believed to be one of its commanders under arrest by Syrian opposition fighters.

But classified secret Syrian official documents obtained by Al Arabiya reveal that Hezbollah has played an active role in the deadly crackdown on civilians and armed opposition in the neighboring Syria.

A document that was sent on May 23, 2011 from Col. Saqr Mannoun, head of Branch 291 of the Air Force Intelligence to President Bashar al-Assad stated, “The first batch of support personnel from Hezbollah, numbered 250, were received and housed in Ramsis hotel in Baroun Street in the province of Aleppo; waiting for my sir’s orders.”

Aleppo was clam and heavily secured under Assad’s iron grips in the early months of the uprising, and it made sense for the regime to receive foreign backers there.

Eman Eddin al-Rasheed, head of the Political Bureau in the Syrian National Rally, said despite that the regime had built up an army in a way that ensures its absolute loyalty in the most difficult times; the regime still harbored fears and paranoia. Assad was afraid his army might fail him one day, and that is why he did not hesitate to seek help from Hezbollah “mercenaries" from the early months of the revolution

Another document, stamped "top secret," from Brigadier Waleed Abdel-Rahman of the reconnaissance unit in the foreign intelligence branch, contained a list of names for Lebanese and Syrian opposition figures who are most wanted to be arrested or killed.

Among the names found in the list is Ahmed Nasr al-Din, a Lebanese citizen wanted by Syrian security forces for cooperating with Syrian citizen Mohamed Hassan Farah, who is in detention under Hezbollah.

On May 5, 2012, the head of the operations in the Syrian foreign intelligence tasked a man named Ahmed al-Shammari to go to the border with Lebanon to receive Hassan Farah from the Hezbollah movement.

Murder of Gebran Tueni

Also, among the classified documents obtained by Al Arabiya, was a file that dates back to Dec. 12, 2005 in which Abdel-Rahman informed Gen. Assef Shawkat, Assad’s brother-in-law and an then army deputy chief of staff, that "mission 213" was successful executed with the help of Hezbollah.

The mission is suspected to be linked to the assassination of Gebran Ghassan Tueni, Lebanese politician and the former editor and publisher of daily paper An Nahar.

Al-Rasheed, of the Syrian National Rally, told Al Arabiya English that Tueni was a target of the Syrian regime since the “liberation of the south” of Lebanon in 2000 from Israeli occupation. Since then Tueini often voiced objection to Syrian presence in Lebanon, according to Rasheed.

Syrian troops completely withdrew from Lebanon on April 27, 2005 following an international outcry sparked by the assassination of late prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

The Hezbollah movement and Syrian regime have been the major suspects in the international high-profile murder.