As much as one third of Hezbollah’s fighting force has been killed or injured fighting in defense of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Avi Issacharoff reported Tuesday in The Times of Israel.
According to Issacharoff, Israeli sources estimate that between 1,300 to 1,500 members of the Iran-backed terrorist group have been killed in Syria, while an additional 5,000 have been injured. The surging casualty count has forced Hezbollah to deviate from past policy and release details on its losses. This past weekend, Arab media reported that over a dozen Hezbollah fighters were killed while battling ISIS near the Lebanese border. The fighter’s pictures were also published in Lebanese outlets.
The fighting is exacting a heavy toll on Iran, which finances both Hezbollah and Assad, as well. Last month, Israeli intelligence estimated that more than 55 members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have been killed in Syria. According to Iranian media, that number has now exceeded 80.
Notably, Iran has also been recruiting Shiites soldiers from Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, sometimes involuntarily, to bolster the forces supporting Assad.
Despite assurances that the administration would enforce United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which prohibits the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah, Reuters reported last month that the United States would allow Iran to “continue wielding influence over Syria,” including by allowing it to arm “anti-Israel and anti-U.S. forces Hamas and Hezbollah.”
Hezbollah’s willingness to sustain an extensive casualty toll in Syria at the behest of its sponsor, Iran, is further confirmation of why terrorism expert Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy called the Shia terror group “the tip of an Iranian imperial spear.”
[Photo: Reuters / YouTube ]