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NOW

Hezbollah to play lead role in
new Syria regime force: report

As-Safir reported that top Hezbollah commanders will embed in the Fifth Corps, which is expected to include elite fighters form the Lebanese militant group.

Hezbollah and Syria flags. (image via SANA)

BEIRUT - Hezbollah will play a leading role overseeing a recently-formed corps set to serve as an auxiliary fighting force for the Syrian regime, according to a Lebanese daily supportive of Damascus.

 

As-Safir reported Monday that top Hezbollah commanders known for their “high leadership quality” will embed with the Fifth Corps, which was formed last week by the Syrian regime.

 

“It is expected that some Hezbollah military leaders will have a major role in leading some of the fighting groups that will join the Fifth Corps,” the pro-Assad Lebanese daily claimed.

 

It went on to say that “a new force of elite troops within Hezbollah” will either operate under the banner of the Fifth Corps or directly coordinate with the new unit, without going into further details on the matter.

 

Officially dubbed a “storming force” by Syria’s army command, the Fifth Corps publicly stated mission is to “work alongside the Syrian army and allied troops” to “eradicate terrorism.”

 

Syrian state media has broadcast calls for volunteers to join the new unit, prompting reports in some opposition outlets that the Fifth Corps is another regime attempt to bolster its fighting manpower.

 

However, As-Safir’s report indicates that Damascus has far more ambitious plans for the Fifth Corps.

 

“The Fifth Corps is not just a new force being added to the system of Syrian army forces and allied units, it is an important turning point for the ties between allied forces within the same axis,” the newspaper said, in reference to the wide array of militia units, including Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed Shiite units, that fight on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

 

“The formation of the Fifth Corps… will [usher in] peak cooperation and coordination between the quarter of Syria, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah,” the report boasted.

 

As-Safir added that the Fifth Corps could be the “nucleus” for a “Syrian National Mobilization,” a reference to the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Front umbrella front of militias given official sanction by the government.

 

According to the newspaper, the Desert Falcons and Liwa al-Quds militias, two of the larger pro-regime forces in northwestern Syria, will spearhead the Fifth Corps, however the report did not specify where it will operate, saying only that it could “attract volunteers in particular from the east.”

 

The formation of the Fifth Corps comes over a year after Russia helped create the Fourth Assault Corps, another auxiliary unit that As-Safir said offered valuable lessons for its successor force.

 

“Field trials and battles… revealed some errors and insufficient levels of coordination,” As-Safir said of the Fourth Assault Corps, which brought together fighters from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and Baath Party’s militias in the Latakia province.

 

“All of these errors are subject to examination… which will be reflected in the entry of the Fifth Corps.”

 

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

As-Safir published a report Monday on the role Hezbollah will play in the Syrian army's new Fifth Corps. (image via SANA)

It is expected that some Hezbollah military leaders will have a major role in leading some of the fighting groups that will join the Fifth Corps.

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    Great. Maybe this way Hezbollah will get off Lebanon's back and move en masse to Syria where fighting all kind of enemy windmills (imperialism, zionism, colonialism, takfirism, isolationism, and other enemies of the glorious Arab nation) has been a way of life. Good riddance. The self-destruction of Syria is the apogee of this eternal quest by the "pulsating heart of Arabism", for it has found the ultimate enemy: Itself . Arab nationalists don't know who the hell they are, or what the hell they want in life; so they define themselves indirectly by nurturing real enemies they have, and inventing many more imaginary ones.

    December 1, 2016