Report: Russian Special Forces, Hezbollah Helping Assad Troops Reclaim Syrian Territory ‘Without Confrontation’
Russian special forces backed by Hezbollah have been helping Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops reclaim territory in the mountains and towns of coastal Latakia in Syria, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported on Wednesday.
According to sources in a “joint operations room” in Damascus, coordinating between Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, Russian artillery — “through intensive use of batteries and howitzers” — backed by elite Hezbollah forces and the Russian air force, have been fighting some of the fiercest battles in Latakia.
The Russian artillery has allowed Assad’s troops and Hezbollah to advance through various towns, villages and areas “without confrontation,” according to the report.
On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that the “Syrian Army has regained control of large territories in Latakia province with support from the Russian Air Force,” according to RT. The Syrian Army had regained 28 towns, mainly from ISIS militants, according to the Russian report.
Hezbollah entered the Syrian civil war clandestinely in 2012 and then openly in 2013 on the side of Assad. The group has staged major battles near Damascus, in the Qalamoun Mountains near the Lebanese border and in the Golan Heights.
Earlier this month, Russia said it would not put Hezbollah on its list of terrorist groups. Two mid-level Hezbollah commanders told a US reporter that the group was receiving weapons shipments from Russia.
The IDF, meanwhile, remains concerned game-changing weapons could make their way into Hezbollah’s arsenal.