Syrian Rebels Target Hezbollah
A string of bombings, rocket attacks, and assassination attempts has brought the Syrian civil war into Hezbollah’s Lebanese stronghold.
Hezbollah has found itself unable to keep Syria’s rebel factions from attacking its assets deep inside Lebanon. The group became subject to reprisals ever since it began fighting alongside forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier this year.
The terror group’s activities helped turn the tide in al-Assad’s favor and were instrumental in helping government troops seize the strategic town of Qusayr last month.
Syrian rebels hit the terror group earlier this month in its bastion of Dahiyeh, a suburb located south of Beirut, injuring more than 50 people.
Amin Hoteit, a former Lebanese army officer close to Hezbollah, told the BBC that the attack revealed the weakness of the Syrian rebels and their inability to win on the battlefield.
Hezbollah convoys on their way to Syria have occasionally been hit by roadside bombs, including one last week
“These attacks will not inflict a lot of harm on Hezbollah but they will keep it on its toes,” Hoteit said. “These tactics aim to disperse Hezbollah’s capacities and to force it to stay on high alert, therefore, to exhaust its forces and distract it from achieving other plans.”
In addition to being militarily involved in Syria, Hezbollah faces deep sectarian divides within Lebanon. Rebel groups threaten to bring the war into Lebanon, which suffered its own brutal civil war between 1975 and 1990.
“Hezbollah brought it on itself,” Wehbe Qaticha, a military expert close to the opposition March 14 coalition, told the BBC. “Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria is an Iranian decision to comment on the issue.”
The rebel Free Syrian Army initially threatened to target Hezbollah in Lebanon back in February, before the Shiite terrorist group admitted that it was fighting alongside the Assad forces. A related group, the Syrian National Council, issued a statement Tuesday calling for Hezbollah’s leaders to be put on trial for crimes it may have committed in Syria.
Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria was among the reasons that the European Union decided to blacklist the group this week.