The Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization is taking heavy losses in Syria, according to a report released by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC).
The assessment, sent to media this week, indicates the terror group’s involvement in the two-year-long savage civil war across Israel’s northern border has cost Hizbullah more than 180 men.
In addition, several hundred more of its guerrilla fighters have been wounded in the effort to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power, ITIC estimates. Many of them will never return to active service.
The terror monitoring watchdog based its assessment on having located 82 names of operatives recently killed, in addition to another 96 names of those previously found.
Most met their deaths during the campaign for the city of Al Qusair, according to ITIC, the majority in the final battle that began on May 19 and dragged on through June 5. Ultimately, Assad’s forces succeeded in taking control over the city together with Hizbullah.
A number of others were killed in other battle sites, among them the Aleppo region in northern Syria.
Part of the reason for the high number of casualties has to do with Hizbullah’s unfamiliarity with the local terrain, according to ITIC. Moreover, Hizbullah's fighters encountered fierce resistance from rebel fighters, including the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front)., who are equally dedicated to the concept of jihad and “fighting to the death for the glory of martyrdom.”
But the glory felt by fighters on the battlefield is beginning to pall among family members at home, where the large numbers of dead has begun to inspire criticism of the terror organization inside Lebanon. There has been sporadic fighting related to the Syrian civil war inside Lebanon as well.
A senior IDF intelligence officer told the Tazpit news agency he estimates Hizbullah has lost more than 250 fighters, and there have been reports the terror organization’s secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, lost his own brother, Khader Nasrallah, in the fighting as well.