Hezbollah invites journalists on mock patrol on Syrian front
Hezbollah fighters deployed weapons for a press tour in the Qalamoun region of Syria.
Hezbollah fighters invited journalists on a tour of Syria’s mountains region of Qalamoun to wittiness a mock patrol last Friday, the New York Times reported.
The presentation, which was briefed by a Hezbollah field commander at the unmarked boarder, was held on a flat terrain, a territory that was seized by the Lebanese Shiite group in recent days from insurgents in Syria.
The commander told the New York Times that Hezbollah fighters had broken up 40 fighting groups, three “operations rooms” and took over 300 square kilometers of territory that insurgents used as a base to lob shells into Lebanese villages and build car bombs for attacks in Beirut.
“This has foiled a threat to Lebanon,” he said, “There is no way they will be able to come back.”
Hezbollah, a group that is regarded as one of Lebanon’s most powerful political parties, is aiming to reflect the success of its campaign in Syria for its ally, the Syrian government. Hezbollah stresses that it operates in Syria with the government’s permission.
According to the New York Times, fighting has intensified as the heavy snow that froze the conflict over the winter has melted to graying patches in the mountainous border area of Qalamoun.
Qalamoun has been a stronghold for Syrian insurgents and foreign Sunni militants, including the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front. It is also reportedly used as a route for Hezbollah to receive arms from Iran through Syria.
The impact and resilience of Hezbollah’s advance in the unpopulated area where insurgents use hit-and-run tactics in unclear, according to the New York Times.
Although the commander had said that many insurgents had fled to their stronghold in a nearby town Arsal in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Saturday that 13 Hezbollah fighters had died in the Qalamoun fighting on Saturday.
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