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Mona Alami

Hezbollah fighter details ops in Qusayr

hezbollah funeral

Hezbollah’s implication in the nearby Syrian war has been reported by numerous media outlets. In order to discuss the real scope and depth of the party's involvement in the Syrian conflict, NOW talks to Hezbollah fighter Abou Ali, who has been deployed to Qusayr. 

 

Why are you fighting in Syria?

 

Syria has supported the resistance for over 30 years, we need to remain loyal to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

 

Don’t you worry that Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria will significantly weaken Hezbollah? Do you believe that you can still fight Israel while waging war on another major front?

 

People have to understand that Hezbollah is now a regional party. The war in Syria is a preemptive strike on an enemy that was going to export the Syrian conflict into Lebanon; and Hezbollah will not allow for its military and strategic interests to be threatened without responding to such a threat. It will also not enter a war unless it is sure it can win it. Hezbollah can still fight simultaneously on three fronts: in Syria, in the south against Israel, as well as internally. We are expecting to fight a war internally because we feel that those [foreign backers] who are spending money locally are now going to make use of it. All the indicators point in that direction.

 

Does the war waged by Hezbollah against the Syrian rebels bear any similarity with the war with Israel?

 

It’s actually very different from Lebanon, with the exception of the battles of Bint Jbeil (in the south), where the terrain and towns with houses built very close together are in many ways similar to Qusayr. Elite and special forces that are now deployed in Qusayr are using the training in street fighting they received in Iran, which was done in mock cities specifically built for this purpose.

 

Who is Hezbollah fighting in Syria? Is it possible that in a country as big as Syria the rebellion might be solely comprised of foreigners?

 

Most militants I met were foreign fighters: Europeans, Gulf Arabs, Chechens, Jordanians, and even Filipinos from the Abu Sayyaf movement! Syrians only play a supporting and secondary role in the rebellion unless they fought in Iraq or Libya. These takfiris are savage enemies; they chop off their enemies' heads because they believe beheading will promote them (on earth and in heaven). Gulf  Arabs are also respected by rebels because they are usually wealthy and can offer a certain financial support to brigades. Jordanians and Somalis are those participating the most in suicide bombings.

 

Fighting in Qusayr has entered in its third week; why has it been so hard for you to take over the border area?

 

Qusayr was initially divided in 16 military areas, today an area of five blocks still remains in the control of rebels from the Nusra Front who have taken civilians hostage. We are trying to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible, which is slowing down the process. Rebels who are arrested are immediately transferred to the Syrian intelligence so that they can be used in hostage exchange operations.

 

Rebels are using guerrilla techniques against you in Qusayr. How are you responding to them and what weapons are being used?

 

We have called upon our specialists to neutralize the tunnel networks built by rebels in certain sectors of Qusayr. These specialists helped Hamas build their tunnel networks in Gaza. Tunnels usually have a basic structure, it is easy for specialists to understand how they work, and they are helping us to destroy them by booby-trapping access and exit points. Rebels have also booby-trapped houses, so the only way to secure a certain perimeter is by blowing up walls to make holes. We are also relying on massive air raids in our military operations to wear down the rebels. Weapons used are mortars, PKK, Dushka, Russian 75, 106, as well as 155.

 

Many Hezbollah fighters have died in Qusayr. Some have attributed the high death toll to the inexperience of fighters who were sent initially. Is it true?

 

No it’s not. Reservists who were first sent to Qusayr had received from one month to three or six months training here in Lebanon. It is now the elite and special forces of Hezbollah who are fighting in Qusayr. Everyone who goes to fight in Syria has received a taklif sharii (a religious command).

 

Is Hezbollah present all over Syria?

 

At the beginning of the war, elite forces were initially responsible for protecting Shiite shrines. They have now been deployed in different Syrian areas. Besides Qusayr, we are now fighting in Aleppo and rural areas surrounding it, as well as the suburbs of Damascus, Hama, and Idlib. In the Damascus suburbs and Aleppo, we are leading similar operations than those launched in Qusayr due to the nature of the terrain.

 

Are Iranians fighting in Qusayr?

 

No, but there are Iraqis in certain Damascus areas more particularly around Shiite shrines.

 

What is Hezbollah’s role in the current Syrian war? Is it collaborating with the regime’s new People’s Army?

 

Hezbollah is leading operations in Qusayr; the Syrian army is only playing a secondary role, deploying after an area is completely 'cleaned' and secured.   Hezbollah officers coordinate with the People’s Army but fighters never interact. The People’s Army is usually last to deploy after the Syrian army, as they have a better understanding of the area and its residents. 

 

Read this article in Arabic

Defiant Hezbollah supporters mourn a fallen fighter in Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. (AFP photo)

"People have to understand that Hezbollah is now a regional party."

  • fone.balone

    This is sheer propaganda, just as the U.S. government claimed that "foreign fighters" (and not Iraqi nationalists) were attacking U.S. troops in Iraq. "Most militants I met were foreign fighters: Europeans, Gulf Arabs, Chechens, Jordanians, and even Filipinos from the Abu Sayyaf movement! Syrians only play a supporting and secondary role in the rebellion unless they fought in Iraq or Libya. These takfiris are savage enemies; they chop off their enemies' heads because they believe beheading will promote them (on earth and in heaven). Gulf Arabs are also respected by rebels because they are usually wealthy"

    June 6, 2013

  • Vlad Tepes

    Good stuff! I believe that this was a Hezbollah fighter being interviewed as he sounded very intelligent and articulate. I don't think he divulged anything classified and was honest about the real nature on the insurgents in Syria. Hail to Hezbollah and Bashar!

    June 6, 2013

  • Metnman

    AAA85, please go and brush up on your logic.

    June 6, 2013

  • AAA85

    For those skeptics out there, there's nothing wrong in communicating your disbelief. However, the smart thing to do before you actually write your comments is to validate this skepticism through asking more valid questions and digging deeper. Although I don't always agree with the author on certain ideas as well as on which side to take, the fact is, and this can be validated, is that she does her due diligence for all interviews and articles, as well as keeping documents and records. Moreover, you are questioning the integrity of the paper, not to mention the author, which in my opinion is counter-productive and insulting. If you disagree with the article (and I have a nonpartisan opinion in this case), then give other arguments than just not believing that this interview actually happened, because what if it did...? You would need to question your beliefs, heaven forbid!

    June 5, 2013

  • Rolfen

    What do you people expect, if a Hezbollah member is going to divulge information on without permission to Now Lebanon, he's not going to add his name!

    June 5, 2013

  • Uh huh

    So you want us to believe that a Hizbollah fighter choose you, an anti-hizbollah outlet , to divulge information....what a BS...

    June 5, 2013

  • ANR

    Excellent interview and very informative. Very interesting to learn that they are now fighting in different areas, including parts of the capital.

    June 4, 2013

  • Jake12

    "Most militants I met were foreign fighters: Europeans, Gulf Arabs, Chechens, Jordanians, and even Filipinos from the Abu Sayyaf movement!" This is what we all suspected... the rebels are NOT Syrians. They are foreign fighters who do not represent the Syrian people.

    June 4, 2013

  • Metnman

    I have to agree. He is too articulate and what about this comment "Most militants I met" "met" where? In the pub? This is all to perfect. We would love to know who is Abou Ali? What was his unit? how old is he? Background? Village etc? He never spoke about the fighting. All very amateur. Who let this pass?

    June 4, 2013

  • SBDXC

    I am a big fan of this website but am very disappointed with this article which lacks credibility as to its occurence (I highly doubt that NowLebanon did this interview ever - sounds more like a monologue from the writer). Information in this supposed "interview" does not bring any new information on the table and does not sound like someone from the Hezbollah fighters.

    June 4, 2013