Guerrilla fighters from Lebanon's Hizbullah terrorist organization are fighting in Syria's civil war together with loyalists for President Bashar al-Assad.
In a special report, a soldier from the Free Syrian Army told The Independent newspaper, published Sunday in the UK, the Shi'ite Muslim terrorists are full military allies of the Syrian regulars.
Hizbullah has for years been the beneficiary of Syria's largesse, as well as that of Iran. Syria, for its part, has long been generously funded and equipped by Tehran as well. Both have been abundantly armed by Iran, and thoroughly trained in the use of the weaponry.
"Everyone knows they have fighters there,” the 23-year-old opposition fighter was quoted as saying. But recently there has been an upswing in the number of fighters, as well as firepower with which they have been supplied, he said.
"At night Hizbullah fire rockets at us from the Lebanese side, and we have the Syrian army on the other side,” said a second rebel fighter who fled his border village two weeks ago. “We are squeezed.”
There are reporters of “barrel bombs” – oil drums packed with TNT and shrapnel – being dropped from helicopters, rockets and other explosives being fired by Hizbullah guerrillas.
One rebel fighter described “thousands of soldiers” from Hizbullah, who arrived “because the Syrian army couldn't fight us alone.” He recognized them, he said, by their combat skills and American-made M16 assault rifles. Sheikh Amr Al Ali, an FSA fighter, added that it is impossible to tell exactly how many Hizbullah troops there really are.
The proof, he said, can be found in “those who come back to the Beka'a in a coffin or those we capture.”
Recent photos of Hizbullah funerals for their fighters show what has become a full-scale guerrilla army, with troops carrying the coffins of fallen members.
Hizbullah has given no details about the deaths of those who have fallen in the past few weeks, but sources who spoke about fighters near Baalbek said two terrorists and another Hizbullah fighter were killed near a Syrian border town where rebels have been actively engaged in fighting Assad's forces.