first published on February 28, 2018 by Sean
Action packed yet disturbing footage of Hezbollah fighting against ISIS in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime. The universally recognized Lebanese terrorist organization looks more like a standing military than a jihadist guerilla force – well-equipped, drilled, and procedural in its actions.
The footage was taken a few months ago in late 2017 – during the operations to liberate the eastern Deir ez-Zur province and al-Bukamal near the Iraqi border from ISIS control. The well know recipient of Iranian support and long-time foe of Israel and the west, Hezbollah has openly supported the Assad regime since 2013. Helping to slowly drive ISIS and other rebel groups from their various pockets of resistance throughout Syria, it has bolstered its own tactical competence and provided invaluable experience for its fighters.
Last year’s ultimately successful drive towards Deir ez-Zur and then onto al-Bukamal by the Assad loyal forces, mirrored simultaneous Iraqi military operations pushing towards al-Qaim on the opposite side of the border. Both sides were supported and likely coordinated by Iran. Kurdish forces additionally pressured ISIS from the north, and daesh was largely driven from the Euphrates river valley in Deir ez-Zur; effectively cut in two and isolated in several pockets in Syria’s eastern deserts.
The video purportedly captures some of this fighting between daesh and Hezbollah and highlights the discrepancy between the typical Syrian jihadist and the evolved Hezbollah militant. The Hezbollah fighters are well-equipped and highly organized. Unlike the confused gaggles we normally see, they move in neat units with clear small-unit leadership. Their training and experience is obvious as they procedurally move through neighborhood after neighborhood using heavy weapons and explosives.
They are supported by a diverse indirect fire apparatus, consisting of multiple types of artillery and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS). Similarly, these noticeable highly organized units construct positions that appear well-conceived and laid out like a professional military.
When the Assad regime forces (including Hezbollah) were able to capture al-Bukamal and the Iraqi army was able reclaim al-Qaim, Iran became the largest beneficiary. For the first time ever, it had a land route from Iran, to the Mediterranean. It can now easily supply Hezbollah in Lebanon and its other allies in Syria via this Iraq highway. As Iran continues to meddle in the region, the likelihood of Israel having to fight these Iranian backed militants has now greatly increased. Only time will tell if the Israeli’s will have to put Hezbollah back in its place once again.