The number of deaths of Hezbollah fighters in its involvement in the Syrian civil war is officially estimated at 180 but is likely much higher, in addition to hundreds of wounded fighters, according to a report released by The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).
Its assessment is based on ITIC having located 82 names of operatives recently killed, in addition to 96 names previously found. The numbers continue to rise as the fighting ensues.
Of the 180 Hezbollah terrorist guerrillas who have been killed, 120 of them met their deaths during the recent campaign for Al-Qusayr. Several dozen Hezbollah operatives were killed defending the Shi’ite holy site of the grave of Al-Set Zaynab and others in other battle sites.
The ITIC said Hezbollah was a main combatant in the fighting and that its operatives were fighting offensively in an unfamiliar urban setting, while the rebels apparently showed strong resistance, especially fighters from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front which fought alongside the rebels. Both sides suffered heavy losses.
Hezbollah’s casualties have fueled criticism of the organization among Lebanese Shi’ite Muslims.
The level of criticism is apparently still tolerable as far as Hezbollah is concerned and does not keep the organization from being further drawn into the Syrian civil war. However, in the ITIC’s assessment, the significant number of losses in Al-Qusayr may influence the way Hezbollah supports the Syrian army in the pending campaign to take over the Aleppo area.
A senior IDF intelligence officer told Tazpit News Agency that he estimates that Hezbollah’s casualties are higher than 250 dead. According to some reports, Khader Nassrallah, brother of Hezbollah head Hasan Nassrallah, was killed in the fighting; indicating the importance Nassrallah has placed on the fighting in Syria.
As a result of Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria the fighting has spread into Lebanon, the most significant event occurring on July 9th, when a car bomb exploded in the middle of the Hezbollah-controlled Dahyah neighborhood in Beirut.
The military source maintained that in the long term, Hezbollah will suffer the consequences of its involvement in Syria, especially losing financial support that is essential for its survival. For this reason they have joined Assad, hoping for further financing by his regime, as well as weapons and logistic support.
Although the Hezbollah losses are only a small scratch on the surface of the terrorist organization’s capabilities to attack Israel, the campaign in Syria may damage Hezbollah’s political, financial and military relations with its Arab and Muslim counterparts.
The Syrian rebels’ National Coalition said Tuesday, “Hezbollah officials to be brought to justice for the terrorist crimes they committed on Syrian soil.
“The free world must take preventive measures against Hezbollah’s leaders, members and supporters, who participated in the spilling of Syrian blood against the aspirations for freedom and dignity of the Syrian people.”
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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