Hizbullah Playing Prominent Role in Eastern Syria

(Al-Monitor) Mona Alami - Hizbullah is playing a prominent role in the northeastern Syrian region of Deir ez-Zor, according to a Hizbullah commander who spoke to Al-Monitor. The region holds large deposits of oil and gas, and borders Iraq, which means it is a potential pathway for Iran to link Tehran to Beirut. More than 8,000 Hizbullah fighters are involved in eastern Syria, said the commander. The commander said Hizbullah forces in the eastern sector range from infantry, rocket launcher battalions, and operation forces to logistics and supply forces. "We are an army," he said. A joint operations room led by Iran, Hizbullah and the Syrian military runs the operations in Deir ez-Zor, he added. Hizbullah is usually responsible for offensive operations and Syrian troops generally follow to stabilize various areas. The Hizbullah commander said the organization is using the recent de-escalation deal in southern Syria to do reconnaissance work there. According to a previous interview with a Hizbullah official, Hizbullah "has missiles with a range that could target Israel [from Syrian territory] without Hizbullah having to be physically present near the border area."

2017-10-20 00:00:00

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