“Hezbollah is in charge of the whole region, and they control everything here,” said Abu Ishak, a spokesman for Saraya Ahl Alsham.
EDITOR - President Trump is getting sucked deeper into the nightmare of Syria. The U.S. Military-Industrial Complex has been arming Islamists for years and then tells Trump we must go into Syria to fight Islamists we just armed.
(The Wall Street Journal) - Few wars have seen such a tangle of combatants as Syria’s, from obscure and morphing rebel groups to Russians, Turks, Kurdish and Iraqi militias. From the chaos, one clear winner is emerging.
Returning to his ancestral Syrian town of Qusayr after years away, a man named Mohammed discovered a new militia patrolling the neighborhood. Patches on the men’s camouflage uniforms called them the Islamic Resistance of Syria. Their identity became clearer when he found a notice on his house claiming it for Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group.
“Many houses have been confiscated with notices that they’ve been reserved for this or that family,” Mohammed said.
Hezbollah, founded in the early 1980s to fight Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon, became involved in the civil war next door to protect its patrons in Damascus and a supply line of Iranian weapons. After years of growing engagement, including training thousands of mostly Shiite Muslim fighters and beginning to provide social services, Hezbollah is today stronger, more independent and in command of a new Syrian militia that its officials say is ready to be deployed to other conflicts in the region.
Hezbollah now fights alongside Russian troops, its first alliance with a global power. It was Hezbollah that devised the battlefield plan for Aleppo used by Syrian and Russian forces last year, according to Arab and U.S. officials who monitor the group.Bassem Mroue/Associated Press A Hezbollah fighter in Syria stands by the group's yellow flag.
Thanks to money and arms from Tehran, Hezbollah now stands almost on a par with Iran as a protector of President Bashar al-Assad’s government, and as a sponsor of Shiite fighting forces in Syria.
“It’s hard to see people rising through Syrian intelligence or military ranks without the blessing of Hezbollah or the Iranians,” said Andrew Exum, until January a U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East.
With its growing might, this arch-foe of Israel, a group long labeled terrorist by the U.S., has gained a modicum of international recognition. It participated in negotiations sponsored by Russia following the rout of rebels from Aleppo. When China’s special envoy to Syria visited Lebanon in December, he carved out time to see Hezbollah’s foreign-relations chief.Read More . . . .
Hezbollah POV GoPro Helmet Cam CQB Footage
|Hezbollah Has U.S. Armored|
(Washington Post) - Over the weekend images surfaced online of a Hezbollah parade in Qusair, Syria, featuring U.S. armored personnel carriers affixed with antiaircraft guns. The images prompted a flurry of speculation about the vehicles’ origin and whether the group had pilfered the stocks of the U.S.-supplied Lebanese military.
.The armored personnel carrier, known as the M113, is one of the United States’ most ubiquitous armored vehicles and has been in service since the 1960s.
As a prominent political and military entity in Lebanon, Hezbollah’s possession of the vehicles could support the theory floated by the defense analyst Tobias Schneider, who tweeted that the personnel carriers were probably taken from the Lebanese Armed Forces, a major recipient of U.S. military aid.
Over the summer, the Lebanese military took possession of dozens of pieces of artillery, armored vehicles, semiautomatic grenade launchers and 1,000 tons of ammunition — all worth about $50 million — as part of the United States’ ongoing efforts to bolster the country’s capacity to fight extremists. The shipment, overseen by the Pentagon and the State Department, brought the amount of U.S. military aid sent to Lebanon in 2016 to $221 million, according to U.S. Ambassador Elizabeth H. Richard.