Wednesday 18 October 2017

Hizbollah 'now shelling rebels' in rocket attack across border

A family on a pick-up truck flees violence in the city of Aleppo.
A family on a pick-up truck flees violence in the city of Aleppo.

HIZBOLLAH has been accused of intervening directly in Syria's civil war by launching rocket attacks over the border from Lebanon in support of President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

In a worrying sign that Lebanon is getting drawn further into the Syrian conflict, the Iran-backed Shia militant group is accused of using its military bases in the Bekaa valley to shell rebel positions in Syria.

"They are concentrating on hitting the villages where the Free Syrian Army are, to weaken them before launching a ground attack," said Abu Obeida, a Lebanese resident of the border town of al-Qaa. "I have seen the rockets firing -- they pass over your head."

Driving across the Hermel plains of the northern Bekaa, 10 miles from the frontier with Syria, the sound of rocket fire could be heard.

The salvoes came in waves -- the dull thuds of the launchers shattering the stillness of the night air as they released their loads. Half an hour later, the tempo quickened to a near constant onslaught, filling the valley with the sounds of warfare until the early hours of the morning.

Residents in the battle-worn Syrian border town of Al-Qusair said the attacks began six weeks ago. "Hizbollah does this almost every night. It gets heavier when the fighting gets worse here. I have seen the missiles coming from Lebanon," a Syrian activist said in an interview over Skype.

The development follows claims that Hizbollah has sent fighters to support Assad in his battle against the growing, mostly Sunni, insurgency.

Earlier this month, more than 1,000 mourners attended the funeral of Ali Nassif, a Hizbollah commander who died performing "jihadi duties", according to Sheikh Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbollah.

"Sayyed Nasrallah wept when Nassif was killed. Now Hizbollah want revenge," said a Lebanese source who has relatives in the group. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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