Veteran French-Lebanese journalist Mona Alami on Wednesday published an assessment in USA Today detailing recent military campaigns by Hezbollah on behalf of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, broadly concluding both that the Iran-backed terror group has taken the lead in counter-offensives against rebel elements and that those counter-offensives “now appear to be tipping the scales in Assad’s favor.”
The group said its contacts inside Syria report that the fighting was led by Hezbollah in tandem with Syrian government forces. A Hezbollah commander interviewed by USA TODAY confirmed that the group is taking the lead now in many battles in Syria. “We have recaptured about 70% of the Qalamoun territories,” said Abou Ali, a Hezbollah commander on a brief respite in Beirut.
Abou Ali said Hezbollah has hundrreds of fighters in the Qalamoun region and they have cornered the rebels using sophisticated methods of artillery targeting with weaponry supplied by Russia and Iran, both of which back Assad’s regime.
A CNN report published on the same day described an ambush conducted by forces loyal to Assad that day in which 175 rebels were said to be killed. Alami also contrasted quotes from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry declaring that there is “no military solution” to the Syrian conflict with analysis from Washington Institute Fellow James Jeffrey, who noted that Assad and his sponsors seem to have a very definitive idea of what a military solution might look like.
“Assad and his friends do not appear to believe that there is no military solution,” he says. “If that is the direction the Syrian conflict is going, then Washington will eventually face a de facto military victory in the very center of the Middle East by an Assad rump state, Iran, Hezbollah and Russia, on top of the humanitarian tragedy and attrition of U.S. global prestige.”
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