75 terrorists (often called fighters in Western media outlets) from the Lebanon-based Hizbullah have been killed in Syria since they first became involved in the country’s war months ago, a source close to the Shiite group said on Thursday.
“There have been 57 killed and 18 others who have died of their wounds since the start of its (Hizbullah’s) participation in the war in Syria,” the source told AFP.
Hizbullah terrorists have become increasingly involved in Syria’s conflict, fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against an insurgency that flared after a brutal regime crackdown on democracy protests.
Initially Hizbullah said it only wanted to defend 13 Syrian villages along the border where Lebanese Shiites live, and the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine near Damascus, an important Shiite pilgrimage site, reported AFP.
However, its elite fighters later encircled Qusayr with regime troops before the launch on Sunday of a withering assault on the strategic border town that is home to 25,000 people.
Hizbullah denied its involvement in Syria for some time, quietly burying terrorists killed in Syria.
The movement stopped hiding its dead when its leader Hassan Nasrallah paid homage to terrorists killed across the border on April 30.
Last year, as the ongoing civil war in Syria continued, Nasrallah publicly offered to place his terrorists at Assad’s disposal.
Waddah Sharara, an expert on the organization, told AFP that Hizbullah has some 20,000 terrorists, of whom 5,000 to 7,000 have experience of combat. Between 800 and 1,200 of these have been taking part in the battle for Qusayr.