For now its focus is on the Syrian civil war, where it is sustaining heavy losses, but the Lebanese Shiite terror group has become a far more formidable player in the 10 years since the Second Lebanon War
Pictures being published from time to time by Hezbollah tell a great deal about its role in the fighting in Syria. In some of the pictures Hezbollah fighters can be seen leaning against Russian tanks, and the truth is that since Russia began its open military activities in Syria, Hezbollah fighters are also learning Russian methods of war, becoming familiar with advanced Russian weaponry, coming to understand the latest Russian technologies, and in some cases, actually fighting alongside Russian special forces.
Hezbollah is not alone. Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and some members of Shiite militias who have come from overseas have also been fighting alongside Russian soldiers on occasion. But when it comes to Hezbollah, such developments should be raising concerns on the Israeli side. The Shiite terror group is sustaining new losses every day in the fighting in Syria, but at the same time it is gaining expertise from one of the most advanced military forces in our region.
In the 10 years since the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah has been transformed from a terror group deployed against Israel to a full-scale army in almost every respect. It knows how to operate logistically over vast areas. This includes tending to the needs of its troops all over Syria, in much the same way the IDF’s network of welfare officers and staffers does. It is also capable of tending to the welfare needs of Shiite civilians in the Syrian villages under its control. It operates artillery and rockets, it has entire networks of unmanned drones, it is skilled in the use of anti-tank weaponry, and of course it carries out ground operations to conquer and hold territory.
Its focus has emphatically shifted in the last few years and now overwhelmingly revolves around the civil war in Syria. Its emphasis is on building up power, military capability and military planning, with Syria at the top of its agenda and the conflict with Israel relegated to lesser importance. For now.
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