Hezbollah and its Relationships with Sectarian Militias

Hezbollah is one of the sectarian militias that are supported by Iran

Military preparation of Hezbollah

Funding Hezbollah by Iran

Organogram of Hezbollah and mechanisms of decision-making

Hezbollah’s role in supporting Assad’s Regime and episodes of its intervention in Syria

Areas of intervention and deployment in Syria

Hezbollah relationships with local and foreign sectarian militias

Local militias that Hezbollah tried to establish and train

Foreign militias that Hezbollah tried to establish and train

The negative religious Shia perspective keeps the relation between the Shia citizens and their state in a turbulent status as the political credo of Shia is based on two basic theories for interpreting the relationship with state and political authority. The first theory entails a stern and decisive attitude towards all forms of rule and considers them all to be an invasion and occupation of the 12th Imams[1]’s authority. This theory has been taught at the Hawzas[2]. In depth of this ideology, jurisprudence research is taught to specialized students of Sharia under the title of deductive jurisprudence. This kind of research investigates the relationship with state under the title of “The function of the Ruler” or “the Rule of the oppressive ruler”.

Following the success of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Shias in the Arab World rushed up to follow the Iranian example and to duplicate the same project with all its strategies and ideas. Iranian Regime encouraged these movements in the Arab World and supported them with funds and human resources with all possible means. It coordinated with these movements to extend Iranian domination of the region. Branches of these movements were inaugurated by Iran as part of Iran strategy of exporting its revolution. Hezbollah in Lebanon was adopted and supported by Iran. Assad’s Regime was also supported by Iran as it was a rival of Saddam Hussein Regime in Iraq. Shia minorities in Arab countries were exploited by Iran to lay the ground for intervention in these countries. Husainyahs[3], cultural centers, universities and research centers were established in many cities of the Arab World to advocate Shia doctrine as introductory step for imposing Iran as a reference and driving power in the region.   

Large-scale disconnection of the military institution of Assad’s Regime resulted from the confrontation with the Syria public uprising. Therefore, Assad resorted to asking for Iranian protection. To be able to protect Assad, Iran depended on sectarian mobilization propaganda. Iran created mini states within Arab Countries as military sectarian entities by mobilizing a lot of Twelfth Shia Imams, that is why Iran, right from the beginning of the Syrian Revolution, pushed Hezbollah to intervene in Syria under the pretext of protecting the Shrines of Shia in Syria, but in fact it was for the sake of protecting Assad’s Regime. Afterwards, Iran sent its military experts to help Assad against the Syrian Rebels. Hezbollah exhibited its power in battles of Al Kalamoun and Al Kusair. It was an imprudent intervention that later expanded to support sectarianized groups and brigades in different areas of Syria.

The importance of Iranian Hezbollah role for the Iranian decision-makers was clearly stated in a book entitled: “Letters of the Fish” which was published by a publishing house working for the Revolutionary Guards of Iran. The book talks about a plan made by Al Quds Corpse. This plan is based on military, security, economic, political and cultural pillars. Hassan Nasrullah disregarded three pillars and focused only on military and security aspects of the conflict after he was shown the plan by Hamadani, the leader of Al Quds Corps. These procedures were dictated by the highest Mullah of Iran. Hassan Nasrullah was given a free hand to control Syria as a prominent actor in the scene in the country.

The importance of this study stems from the light it sheds on one of the most prominent Iranian proxies that pledged allegiance to the highest Mullah of Iran, and similar influence in other Arab countries and mainly in Syria. This study also focusses on Hezbollah’s relationships with other sectarian militias that were mobilized and used by Iran through Shias of the World to fight in Syria with the purpose of protecting Assad’s Regime.

Hezbollah is one of the Militias that are supported by Iran

Hezbollah was established in 1982 following the Iranian Revolution. In its foundation statement, Hezbollah said: “We, sons of Hezbollah, consider ourselves as an integral part of the central Muslim Nation around the World, and we are committed to one leadership, a wise and just one i.e. Fakih supper ruler who meets all the requirements and is represented by Ayatollah Khamenei (God bless him).”. Thus, Hezbollah represents Iran’s strong arm in the Arab World. Hezbollah is subject to Iran in jurisprudence, politics and economy. It is a tool in the hands of Iran for provoking any case in the region, and an integral part of the Iranian expansion project in the region.

The relationship between Iran and Hezbollah is religiously and politically interrelated. Ibrahim Al Ameen, spokesman of Hezbollah, replied to a question about the relationship between Iran and Hezbollah by saying: “We don’t say that we are part of Iran, rather we are Iran itself in Lebanon.”. Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ex-president of Iran and Head of Regime’s Interests Identification Office, said that Iran’s help to Hezbollah is a matter of sectarian and revolutionary duty. Therefore, Dr. Musa’oud Assadullah, an Iranian researcher, said in his book “Islamists in a Cosmopolitan Society” that the divine rule of Khamenei is not limited to a geographical area or within artificial borders of a state. Any man-made boundaries that abort the authority of Fakih Supper ruler is illegitimate. Consequently, Hezbollah is a branch of a larger wide-spread entity. Hezbollah is therefore ready to do any task assigned by the Fakih Ruler anywhere on earth. The fact that Iran financially and militarily supports Hezbollah affirms that it is an Iranian arm and a project undertaker in the whole region.

Military preparation of Hezbollah

Both Iranian and Syrian regimes did their best to build up the military capacity of Hezbollah by providing it with ground-to-ground missiles that can target Daymona Nuclear site in Israel within a range of 350 kilometers. Assad’s Regime provided Hezbollah with M600 Missiles which can accurately hit targets with 500 kg explosive charge. These missiles can carry chemical, nuclear or biological heads.  

Iran trained military staff of Hezbollah and organized its military wing to be composed of five commandos’ battalions, main important of which is Al Radwan Battalion. This battalion is highly qualified and trained with the best military equipment. In their trainings, staff of this battalion imitate real battles and military tactics that are very similar to Israeli special forces “Eghour Unit”.

Assad’s Regime built up the Anti-craft capacity for Hezbollah and trained its staff on how to operate air defense batteries. Hezbollah was also equipped with man-pad anti- craft missiles. Assad’s Regime also provided Hezbollah with Russian long-range anti-ship missiles – Yakhunt. 

Revolutionary Guards of Iran and Assad’s Regime constructed anti-tank front line fortifications connected by special routes to be used in wartime. Operational headquarters were also established throughout Lebanon and an advanced military communication network. Experts of Revolutionary Guards train and mentor Hezbollah Staff with close supervision.

Iran funds Hezbollah

The main fund of Hezbollah comes from Iran through two channels:

  • Formal governmental funds as Iranian Government pays 100 million USD per year.
  • Informal channels represented by Iranian charity organizations and institutions run by Khamenei Charity Organization. These informal donners pay millions of dollars to Hezbollah every year.

Some other funds come from Hezbollah investments worldwide, businessmen who believe in its ideology and the donations of Shia in Lebanon as they pay 20% of their income to the party. However, these incomes are never enough for the huge expenditure of the party.

Organogram and mechanisms of decision-making

Many changes to the organogram have been made to meet the requirements of different stages of its history and commitments. This is shown in the diagram below:

Council of Curators monopolizes military, political and economic decision-making. This council is in charge of changing strategies and changing the organogram through merging some units according to regional and international changes. This council consists of six members headed by the General Secretary, Hassan Nasrullah, who also chairs the military council. He is the top official with unlimited authorization.

Activities of Hezbollah can be divided into two main parts. The first is the political executive one and the second is the Jihadi one. The latter is very secret as per recommended by decision-makers. Jihadi Council of the party is one of the most important offices of the party. This council is run by head of the council, military leader, security leader and the representative of Khamenei who is in charge of monitoring all military action security, training and security measures. After Hezbollah intervened in Syria, most of its offices were changed into jihadi ones. This didn’t mean the obliteration of the executive council because jihad for the party is not limited to military action. For Hezbollah, media activities and political mobility are parts of jihad. Therefore, all units of Hezbollah were called jihadi (Financial jihadi unit, media jihadi unit, etc.

Ever since its establishment, Hezbollah progression refers to its evolution and development of its ideas, flexibility, adaptation and pragmatism. These characteristics distinguish its intellectual and political performance on both external and internal levels or its organogram. It has always granted chances for younger generations to take over and participate. Leadership of Hezbollah is keen on reconsidering changes, making plans and mechanisms that can keep up with these changes. Therefore, it has always developed its structure and organization. Principles are not always strictly adhered to in the context of prioritization and interests that are based on jurisprudence and thought. For this reason, Hezbollah has succeeded in achieving most of its goals despite the setbacks that have been due to connection to Iran.

Comparing the structure of Hezbollah to Syrian security institutions, we can see how similar they are especially in the political council implied in many departments. This proves the real role of Assad’s Regime and the Iranian Regime in constructing Hezbollah so as to be a tool that serves the ambitions of the two regimes in the region. Each regime has found a twin partner in the other one. Iran’s strategy is based on reinforcing its regional domination since the beginning of its revolution. As Iran is unable to get involved in many wars at the same time, it laid the foundations for a political doctrine that enhances it ability to achieve its goals. Assad’s Regime also considered Iran to be a regional secure haven because of the regime regional ambitions, risks and potential threats in the region. These concerns of the Syrian Regime are the results of its intervention in other countries affairs in the region. This policy of Syrian regime has brought antagonism on the part of neighboring countries’ affairs and their international allies. The Syrian Regime was fully aware of the key role played by Iran in the regional equation of the Middle East and Iran inclination to diversify its regional relations and its ability to impair Iraq.

Role of Hezbollah in supporting Assad’s Regime and stages of its intervention in Syria

Hezbollah’s role in Syria was clear right from the beginning of the Syrian Revolution and its direct involvement in the war in favor of Assad’s Regime. This role has been based on the deep strategic alliance between Damascus and Tehran. This support has been clear in three dimensions:

First, Hezbollah supported Assad’s Forces in the offensive attacks in 2013 when Assad’s Forces depended on Hezbollah fighting groups in Al Kusair Battles near Homs. Assad’s Army was responsible for air strikes and artillery coverage of the battle which helped special fighting groups of Hezbollah with its Iraqi and Iranian fighters to advance into the city. The same tactics were used in Zabadani, Aleppo and other areas in the country where Hezbollah and its sectarian Shia allies divided frontlines among themselves. These groups used Iranian weapons like anti-tank missiles “Tuffan”, Kassam Missiles and Karar drones.

Second, Hezbollah conquered strategic areas and defended them against counter attacks.

Third, Hezbollah helped in training Pro-Assad militias like National Defense Militias which are informal forces fighting with the regime and other sectarian militias brought by Iran to support Assad. Abu Al Fadle Al Abbas Militia is one of the most important ones. Training center in Al Kusair City near Homs is considered as one of the most important training centers for Hezbollah. Training in this center includes snipers, explosives, anti-tanks missiles, reconnaissance and special forces trainings. Fighter are trained on fighting in different environments like mountains and deserts or city fight.   

Because Syria and its regime are the most vital arteries and the only lung for Hezbollah and its allies, Hezbollah seriously dealt with the deteriorated situation in Syria and the losses of the regime that were caused by massive demonstrations in most cities and towns in Syria. This coincided with loss of control over security forces. Hezbollah intervention started in an indirect way at the beginning of the Revolution.  

Implicit support to Assad’s Regime:

This episode started in May 2011, just after the beginning of the Syrian Revolution when Hezbollah invited all parties to the conflict to sit to the table for dialogue. In October 2012, Hezbollah declared that its fighters were protecting Lebanese Shias living in villages near the border with Syria. It is true that Hezbollah did its best to contain the crisis and tried to prevent its complications through good affairs. It contacted some of the Syrian opposition figures that had never been contacted before. Hezbollah advocated Assad’s Regime when it praised the regime and called all Syrians to support it proclaiming that most Syrians stand for Assad. These attitudes came in the context of a speech delivered by Hassan Nasrullah on the tenth anniversary of Israel withdrawal from South Lebanon. Simultaneously with these political and propaganda efforts, Hezbollah was cooperating with Iran for the sake of preventing the collapse of Assad’s Regime and was sending its fighters to suppress demonstrations.    

Explicit military intervention:

This started with the explicit declaration of full support to Assad’s Regime. On 25th of May 2013, Hassan Nasrullah, Secretary General of Hezbollah, stated that groups of his militia were fighting in Syria. He promised his followers with victory in the war in Syria saying: “We are victory makers in the battles in Syria. We are the winners of Al Qusair Battles.”. He said that thousands of fighters are ready to join in the fight in Syria. Until Helsinki Summit was held, Hezbollah went on fighting all battles with Assad’s forces and committed many crimes and massacres in the suburbs of Damascus, Al Qalamoun towns, Aleppo and the Southern area of the country. 

Hold-up and Retrogression

Following Helsinki Summit attended by President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump and Russian President, Vladimir Putin on 16th July 2018, Russia was mandated to fine-tune the sequence of events in Syria in a way that gradually leads to the termination of Iran’s role and the demolition of its tools in Syria. Therefore, Hezbollah made an agenda to deal with the new stage of the political game on the local, regional and international levels. The agenda aims at legalizing the existence of Hezbollah and its military presence in Syria in the same way of Public Mobilization Militias in Iraq.   

Areas of domination in Syria

The existence of Hezbollah in Syria is not time-bound or geographically restrained. Rather, it is associated with the military operations and predetermined objectives. Reviewing areas of control and responsibility of Hezbollah, we can see that the number of its fighters was greater than the number of Assad’s fighters. In October 2013, following the fall of Al Kusair, which constituted a turning point in the conflict, fighters of Hezbollah launched a large-scale attack on Al Kalamoun Mountains area and captured main cities like Rankous, Nabk and Yabroud. Afterwards, Hezbollah reinforced its domination around Nubul and Al Zahra’a cities near Aleppo. To the south, Hezbollah did the same in Dara’a. this expansion was attributed to the corrosion and inability of Assad’s Military and the unlimited support provided by Iran which wanted Hezbollah to dominate the Syrian sovereignty like the case in Lebanon following the withdrawal of Assad’s forces from the country. Special forces of Hezbollah provided support to Assad’s Forces in and around Damascus, and besieged thousands of civilians in the city of Homs. 

With special interest, Hezbollah focused on suburbs of Damascus, the Capital, when it started its intervention under the pretext of Protecting Shia shrines in Zainab District. This focus on the city and its suburbs was due to the importance of strategic roads of supply connecting Damascus to Beirut. For this reason, Israeli warplanes have repeatedly targeted military caravans of Hezbollah while moving from Damascus to Hezbollah havens in Lebanon. In December 2016, Israeli warplanes attacked Hezbollah bases in Zabadani near Damascus.

Hezbollah took part in besieging cities of Al Ghuttah around Damascus. Abu Alla’a Bosna, a Hezbollah leader made an ambush in Al Outaibah through which 196 besieged civilians were killed. He was the engineer of all besieges of and military operations against cities in Al Ghuttah. He made plans for military operations that led to the conquer of the strategic town of Shaba’a and other cities like Zabadani and Madayah. Starvation and besieges constituted the backbone of this strategy. These cities are located on the strategic roads of Hezbollah. Military operations around Damascus ended with surrender of rebel groups and the handover of their arms in favor of Hezbollah and its ally, Assad’s Regime. Then, fighters of Hezbollah moved to Aleppo.

In June 2016, Hassan Nasrullah, Secretary General of Hezbollah declared that defending Aleppo is an integral part of defending Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. During their battles in Aleppo, fighters of Hezbollah cut off Castello Road which is the main artery of supply with Turkey. To the south, Hezbollah paid special attention to the area as it is very close to Gollan Heights and the border with Israel. In collaboration with Iran, Hezbollah established Zain Al Abideen Brigade near Kanawat. This brigade aimed at converting people in the area into Shia. The project depended on Sameer Al Kuntar, the Durzi focal person who was assigned a key responsibility of the area.     

After battles in Aleppo had been finished end of 2016, Hezbollah redeployed its militias in many Syria cities of strategic importance like Palmyra, Al Tanf and Dara’a. These cities are important for the control of roads of supply for Hezbollah and the movement of its militias on roads that connect Lebanon to Tehran through Syria and Iraq.

Hezbollah deployed its fighters in the northwest of Damascus up to the border with Lebanon, southern areas of Damascus in Hajar Al Aswad, Al Qadam, Al Medan, Al Tadamun and Mezzah, Damascus airport and its surroundings, and to the east of Al Ghuttah. It also deployed some forces in the western and southern countryside of Homs up to the border with Lebanon due to the importance of this area which is full of military bases and warehouses. Some of its forces are based in Al Wa’er area of Homs city up to the road to Salamiah and Al Mukharam where Al Reddah Brigade is based. This brigade was formed of Syrian Shia militants from Al Rakkah, Al Kam, Um Al Amad, Al Najmah and Hellalia. Nubul and Al Zahra’a to the north of Aleppo city are also considered as big military bases of Hezbollah. As for Deir Ezzour, Al A’shara, Mu Hassan and Bu Lail are also areas of domination. Fighters of Hezbollah are also based in some areas of the coastal provinces of the country.

Therefore, it is not easy to accurately identify areas of domination by Hezbollah as no formal declaration has ever been made by officials of Hezbollah. No statements have so far been as to whether moving Hezbollah forces is just a redeployment or withdrawal to Lebanon, or just a military redeployment as Secretary General said.

The relationships between Hezbollah and local and foreign militias

Hezbollah intervention in the war in Syria was gradual according to setbacks of   Assad’s Army and its geographical losses on the one hand and due to the success of Hezbollah in implementing the agenda of Iran on the other hand. It deployed Al Radwan Military Unit which is a special forces unit. This unit is one of the best military units and best trained one for special fight like that in Syria. Abu Ali Al Tabtaba’i is the military leader of this unit. He worked hard to establish local militias by conscripting local Shias in Syria and training militias which came from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Local militias established and trained by Hezbollah

Al Imam Al Hajeh Brigade, which enrolled fighters from Nubul and Al Zahra’a near Aleppo, is one of many local militias established by Hezbollah. Two words were written on the flag of this brigade: “Nubul and Al Zahra’a”. This was established and cosponsored by Hezbollah. It was established because rebels were besieging these two cities, and Iran invoked this siege to mobilize locals of the cities. This new militias fought some battles in and around Aleppo, and since 2014 so many Shia fighters have been fighting battles near Aleppo.

So many Shia militias, based in the area, fought many battles. Al Imam Al Mahdi Army and Doctrinal National Resistance in Syria conscripted many young people from the coastal areas and border mountainy areas under Alwites’ control. During 2015 and 2016, these militias united with other local militias like Al Ghaliboun and Islamic Fighting Divisions of Syria. SFDS raise the same flag of Hezbollah with slight difference. Other militias affiliated with Hezbollah like Al Mahdi Army, and Al Reddah Forces whose fighters are from Nubul, Al Zahra’a and Homs. Al Mahdi fighters and vanguards are other factions allying with Hezbollah which trains and moves all of them as per requested by the fight.

Because military leaders of Hezbollah are blacklisted as terrorists, Hezbollah doesn’t reveal the names of these leaders. They are only known when they die in the battles. Al Assaf Family in Nubul is the most affiliated with Hezbollah. 

For Al Reddah Brigade, Homs is a strategic and fertile land for the new Shia Militias. This brigade was one of the main factions of Syrian version of Hezbollah. It conscripted many fighters who live in the same area. Originally there have been some Shia villages around Homs like Al Mazea’a, Um Al Ammad, Al Rakkah, Al Mushairfeh and Al Kum. This area is geographically connected to Shia areas in Lebanon. Ali Jawad, a Syrian and Hassan Qasem, a Lebanese, are the two main leaders of this brigade. Some other Hezbollah-affiliated militias are based in Busra Al Sham, south of Dara’a. 

Foreign militias established and trained by Hezbolla

So many militias have been directly established by Hezbollah and supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. These militias are deployed in different areas of Syria. They are assigned different tasks as per needed according to the situation on the ground. Saraya Al Mukhtar, Al Nujaba’a Movement, Al Wa’ed Al Sadek, Hezbollah Battalions, Hassan Al Mujtaba Battalions, Khurasani Divisions and Al Imam Al Mahdi Army are examples of these militias fighting with Hezbollah in Syria. These militias are composed of fighters of Afghani, Iraqi and Pakistani nationalities. There are also Iranian forces like Bader corps and Revolutionary Guards. Abul Al Fadle Al Abbas and Asa’eb Ahl Al Haq Militias from Iraq and Ansarullah Groups from Yemen have been spotted in Syria. Military action by these militias is coordinated through an operation room led by Hezbollah next to Iranian leaders in the hierarchy of leadership.

Abu Al Fadle Al Abbas Brigade

This is a Shia group of fighters who belong to Iraqi version of Hezbollah. It is led by the Iraqi religious figure Awss Al Khafaji, Abi Ajeeb and Abi Hajer. They are affiliated with Al Sader Militia in Iraq. This brigade is based in the countryside of Damascus, Zainab district and up to Damascus International Airport. The relationship between Hezbollah and these militias seems to be an old one as the United States of America accused Hezbollah of terrorism after the mergence between Lebanese Hezbollah and Al Abbas Battalions which were praised by Lebanese Hezbollah as a resistance movement in Iraq. Abi Al Fadle Al Abbas includes Asa’eb Ahl Al Haq, Al Sadre Movement and Iraqi version of Hezbollah.   

Fatimyoun Brigade

This is one of the biggest militias that was composed of Hazar Afghanis under the leadership of Reda Tawsaly, known as Abu Hamed. It is based in Tal Kurain and Fatima Hills in the northwestern countryside of Dara’a, parts of Idlib Province and in Deir Ezour. They use a school as a camp for training with the help of Iranian and Hezbollah officers.

Imam Ali Brigade

This Brigade is led by Sheble Al Zaidi, known as Izrael. It is the military wing of the Iraqi Islamic Movement. Ruh Allah Jesus battalion is affiliated with this Brigade. They are trained in an area near Damascus that is full of military bases and camps.

Sayed Al Shuhada’a Battalions

This is an Iraqi Shia militia led by Haidar Al Aa’raji. It is based in Dara’a and Suburbs of Damascus. They have been attacked in Al Tanf area where they had many deaths and casualties. It was the main power with Hezbollah when they attempted to make an advance towards the eastern border with Iraq. After their losses, they were brought back to Damascus to get prepared and trained again and wait new fight orders. They are also deployed in Al Huwauja in Iraq under the leadership of Muhammed Al Arawi.

Al Wa’ed Al Sadeq corps

It is a group of Iraqi Shia volunteers led by Abi Ali Al Najafi. Its fighters and leaders were trained on using different types of weaponry by Hezbollah in Al Kalamoun mountainy area by Lebanese Hezbollah. It is based in Aleppo and Damascus Suburbs. 

Instant Intervention Forces

It is and armed group led by Ahmad Al Haji Al Sa’edy. They are based near Damascus International airport and Damascus Suburbs.

Al Nujaba’a Hezbollah Movement

It is composed of 3 main brigades, Ammar Ben Yaser Brigade, Al Hassan Al Mujtaba and Al Hamd Brigade. Lebanese Hezbollah trained them and they were involved in the battles of Al Qusair in 2013 and countryside of Aleppo and Idlib. They are based in the Military Academy, Aleppo Airport and Al Nairab Military Airport. Sheikh Anwar Al Ka’abi is the most prominent leader of this movement.

Sa’ada Brigade

This is a Yemeni Militia which participated in the battles for Al Mulaiha in the eastern Ghouta of Damascus. It consists of 750 fighters. Following many battles, only 100 fighters survived. Therefore, they joined Abi Al Fadle Al Abbas Brigade which has got good ties with Lebanese Hezbollah. They finally took part in the battles for Jubar Suburb to the east of Damascus.

Imam Hussein Brigade

This brigade is formed of multi-national fighters, Iraqis, Iranians, Afghanis and Pakistanis. They are led by Amjad Al Bahadely. It fought in Damascus Suburbs and Aleppo. During its battles, its fighters committed many crimes in Al Husainia and Ziabiah IDPs camps to the south of Damascus.

Al Abbas Battalion

It is part of Shia Hashed Forces that entered Syria in 2013. It is based in Kufria in Idlib Countryside. Some leaders of Lebanese Hezbollah led this battalion, its training and operations. Haj Hamza from Lebanon is the leader of this battalion.

In addition, Sefeen Battalions are located in a military base to the south of Hama. These battalions are led by Abi Abbas Al Sulaimani. Ashura’a Divisions affiliated with Ammar Al Hakeem, an Iraqi Shia leader. Kazem Al Jaberi led these battalions in Syria. Ahel Al Haq groups worked under the leadership of Sheikh Qais Al Khaza’ali. Al Khurasani Vanguards fought under the leadership of Hamed Al Jaza’eri.

Upon reviewing the military operations carried out by the above-mentioned militias, we can see that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have used these militias, especially Al Quds Corpse and Lebanese Hezbollah to lead other mercenary militias affiliated with Al Quds Corps. These two main entities were also used for military training. This is not unusual if we know that through Lebanese Hezbollah, Lebanon has been the main center for distribution of arms in the Middle East. Leaders of Iranian Revolutionary Guards usually attend meetings held by the Central Council of Hezbollah just to clarify the role of these leaders in the management of Hezbollah operations according to internal reports made by Hezbollah. Brigadier Ali Muhammed Redah Zahedi, a Revolutionary Guards Officer. During the war in Syria, he used a fake name: “Abi Al Mahdi”. He has strong ties with Hassan Nasrullah, Secretary General of Hezbollah.    

In the same context, Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been providing logistic support to Lebanese Hezbollah to implement training plans and military actions together with these sectarian militias. Hezbollah has been granted free access to IRG headquarters in Syria. The most important headquarters for these militias can be listed as follows:

  • Al Yarmouk Headquarter: This is the former headquarter of Al Yarmouk University which was changed into a center for IRG fighters with militants of Hezbollah.
  • Al Fawar Spring: This headquarter which is located in Al Qunaitera, is dedicated for IRG fighters. It is in the north of Syria, near Sa’asa’ and just 15 kilometers from Al Gollan Heights. It is under the control of Hezbollah.
  • Rukkaya Military Operations Center: This headquarter is located near Al Sufereh, 30 kilometers to the east of Aleppo. It is called Azan Mountain. Iranians call it “Rukkia[4] Camp”. It is divided into two divisions: One for command and control and the other for military and strategy planning to which leaders of Hezbollah and Assad’ Officers frequently come for coordinating military operations. The second division is also used for training in the eastern are of Syria in Al Bu Kamal City. Brigades 44, 45 and 56 of Hezbollah Militias are based in this area in addition to training centers in Al Qusair, Busra Al Sham, Dara’a and Al Keswah to the south of Damascus.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the intervention of Hezbollah in Syria has caused many shocks in favor of its own interests as the battles in Syria contributed to improving military capabilities and fighting skills. This intervention has changed it from a local militia restricted to Lebanon into a regional player who players a key role in determining issues involving the Middle East. As for negative reflections, the military intervention in Syria has distorted the image of Hezbollah in Lebanon and its Arabic incubator. It also caused instability on the local and regional levels as it provoked sectarian congestion in the whole region.


[1] This refers to the 12 Shia Imams who are considered the most important advocators of Islam according to Shias

[2] A religious school for Shiite which teach only Shiite ideology

[3] A special worship house for Shia, very similar to mosques but for special rituals related to Shias

[4] Rukia is the name of one of the daughters of Ali Ben Abi Taleb, the fourth Rashedi Caliphate.


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