A top Hezbollah official acknowledged that the terrorist organization remains in Syria and is consolidating its presence across the Mideast, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reports.
In a July 21, 2018 speech, Hashem Safi al-Din – Hezbollah's executive council chief — bragged about his organization's role in helping the Syrian regime takeover south Syria and fueling conflicts throughout the region.
Al-Din is a member of Hezbollah's Shura council and is regarded as one of its most influential figures.
Another Hezbollah official, deputy executive council chief Sheikh Ali Da'mush, also praised the terrorist group's successes against militant groups in south Syria, during a statement broadcast on Hezbollah's al-Manar TV channel a day before al-Din's speech.
Before these declarations, Hezbollah avoided publicly admitting to its role in helping the dictator Bashar Al-Assad's regime re-take territory in southern Syria.
These high-level statements are meant to shore up support from Hezbollah's constituency and signal the group's resolve to outside powers such as Israel, the US., and even Russia, the Meir Amit report said. Recent reports suggest that Russia is considering ways to limit Iran and Hizballah's military presence in south Syria.
Hezbollah's leadership is now making it clear that they will not withdraw from the area without a fight.
"Anyone who imagines that the U.S. or the Arab states or any other country in the world can determine the future of the region, from Yemen to Iraq, to Syria, to Lebanon, to Palestine, to the entire region — without the presence of the resistance [Hezbollah], is mistaken," al-Din said.
Hezbollah has been a decisive factor in preserving the Assad regime throughout the Syrian civil war. It originally viewed Assad's collapse as an existential threat, given its reliance on Iranian weapons transfers through Syria. But after its early successes, Hezbollah's leadership saw an opportunity to open a new Syrian base of operations to threaten Israel. The terrorist group's leadership is increasingly confident and now looking to expand its presence in ongoing conflicts beyond Syria.
Steven Emerson is executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism. He was a correspondent for CNN and a senior editor at U.S. News and World Report. Read more reports from Steve Emerson — Click Here Now.
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