Hezbollah withdrawing
fighters from Syria: report

Al-Janoubia said hundreds of the party's combatants had returned to Lebanon

Hezbollah fighters. (AFP/Mahmoud Zayyat)

BEIRUT - Hezbollah has begun to withdraw fighters from Syria following Russia’s surprise announcement that it was drawing down its military presence in the war-torn country, according to a popular anti-Hezbollah online outlet.


“Hundreds of Hezbollah members who have been fighting in Syria have started since yesterday afternoon to return to their homes in [Beirut’s] Dahiyeh,” Janoubia claimed Monday evening.


The news website—which recently was the target of a menacing social media campaign waged by Hezbollah supporters—added that the Shiite party’s combatants were returning “suddenly and without previous warning.”


Janoubia said their information was confirmed by “sources close to the party,” who only a week ago had told the outlet that Hezbollah was mobilizing its troops to resume an offensive on the town of Zabadani, which has been subject to a tenuous truce since late September 2015.


“However, it seems that that the surprise unleased by Russian President Vladimir Putin… is the main factor that flipped the war plan for Hezbollah from attack to pulling out,” the article alleged. 


A Hezbollah-affiliated outlet denied reports the party was withdrawing fighters from Syria, saying that armed groups were “spreading rumors that don’t have any relevance to reality.”


“All these rumors come only in the framework of futile psychological warfare, and we call on media outlets to not into the trap of promoting such lies and rumors,” Central Military Media-Syria said in a post Tuesday afternoon on its Twitter and Facebook accounts. 


Janoubia’s short report was published shortly after Putin dropped a political bombshell on Russian TV with his announcement that the he ordered the withdrawal of the “main part” of Russia’s military force in Syria.


The following morning, Russia’s Defense Ministry said that the first batch of the country’s warplanes had already left Hmeimim airbase in Latakia, Moscow’s main base of operations in Syria since its military intervention began on September 30, 2015.


Hezbollah has yet to make any official statement in reaction to the shock Russian withdrawal, while the Syrian regime insists the move was coordinated between Assad and Putin. 


NOW’s English news desk editor Albin Szakola (@AlbinSzakola) wrote this report. Amin Nasr translated Arabic-language source material.

Hezbollah fighters. (AFP/Mahmoud Zayyat)

However, it seems that that the surprise unleased by Russian President Vladimir Putin… is the main factor that flipped the war plan for Hezbollah from attack to pulling out.

  • manjarola

    The lives of both the Lebanese and the Palestinians are also subject to the ambitions of Iran, which fills the coffers of groups such as Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

    March 16, 2016

  • Beiruti

    Fills the coffers, but also fills the coffins of groups such as Hezbollah. To the Hezbollah bourgeois living in their mansions and being driven about in their expensive cars, the lives of Lebanese Shiites is cheap indeed as many a fighter who walked into Syria for that disastrous campaign has come back in a box.

    March 16, 2016

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    Beiruti: Don't waste ink on this Manjarola Hasbara Israeli Zionist .... He copy-pastes this same sentence over and over, regardless of the context. "Palestinians" and "Islamic Jihad" are key words. I am surprised he excludes Hamas and Fatah.

    March 17, 2016

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    Unless, of course, Hezbollah decides to recycle the "liberation of Jerusalem" pretext and stir up, again, the Hebraic hornet's nest with some Persian fireworks along our southern border. It's been 10 years already; time to uncork that bottle of wine and celebrate the boys' homecoming.

    March 15, 2016

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    Let's see..where will Hezbollah now find a pretext to remain extant? When the PLO withdrew from the south, Hezbollah took over the task of "liberating Lebanon". When Israel withdrew from the south, Hezbollah invented the Shebaa Farms lie to remain armed for the ostensible mission of "liberating Jerusalem". When Syria plunged in civil war, Hezbollah's mission crept to "fighting Takfiris, defending the Christians of Lebanon, protecting the Shiite shrines, among other twilight-zone ambitions". As far as one can tell, neither Lebanon, nor Jerusalem, nor Syria has been liberated from anything because we are still mired in the same decades-old problems. If these reports are true, however, and the eternally hopeless محرومين, downtrodden victims of history - just like their nemeses south of the border - blood aficionados are returning home, I wonder, now that the Syrian war appears to be waning, where will Hezbollah's Don Hassan Quixote find the next set of windmills to fight... My guess: Right here in Lebanon's rich domestic compost, now laden with manure, real and metaphorical. Hezbollah has the weapons and the grudge to seek to increase its own share of the compost pie. The Sunnis of Lebanon, to whom the Christians lost back in 1989, better sharpen their pitchforks.

    March 15, 2016