4,000 Hezbollah fighters reach Aleppo, says Free Syrian Army
A Syrian rebel group has claimed that the Lebanese terror outfit Hezbollah has over 4,000 fighters assisting Assad in Aleppo, Syria
Over 4,000 fighters from the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah have reached the northern Syrian city of Aleppo as part of military preparations to retake the rebel-held city, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army told The Daily Star today.
“The number of Hezbollah members who have entered Aleppo has exceeded 4,000,” Louay Meqdad, the FSA spokesman, said.
“They are stationed at the Military Engineering Academy in what seems to be preparations for an attack on the city of Aleppo,” he added.
The FSA spokesman said some 800 members of the Lebanese resistance group were staying at a student campus located in Hamadanieh, southeast Aleppo.
Despite the large number of Hezbollah fighters, Meqdad said he did not foresee a change in the balance of power in the war-ravaged city, more than half of which has been under rebel control since 2012.
“Hezbollah’s participation in Aleppo’s battle will not affect the balance of power because the opposition forces are well barricaded in their positions,” he said.
According to Meqdad, Hezbollah’s military involvement in Syria showed that Syrian government forces were unable to confront the FSA by themselves.
“The expansion of Hezbollah’s military operations in Syria to Aleppo confirms that the regime’s troops are exhausted and need support,” he said.
Hezbollah has admitted to participating in military engagements in Syria, namely against the rebel-held town of Qusair near the border with Lebanon. The party alleges its intervention in Syria aims to protect the resistance group as well as defend Lebanon from the threat of takfiri groups fighting in Syria.
Until recently, key Assad allies had denied the presence of Hezbollah in Syria, though recent incidents have disproved that claim. British Member of Parliament George Galloway was heard to recently deny reports of Hezbollah's presence in the country as "sectarian propaganda nonsense".
The total number of Hezbollah fighters in Syria is unknown, but France said last week that its intelligence services believed between 3,000 and 4,000 Hezbollah members were fighting alongside Assad's army in Syria. Other reports have mentioned the presence of around 10,000 Hezbollah fighters in the war-torn country.
Last month, Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, declared his fighters were committed to the conflict in Syria.
"We will be the ones who bring victory," Nasrallah said.
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