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Senior Hezbollah Commander Dies in Syria

A senior Hezbollah commander dies from wounds sustained in fighting alongside Assad's forces.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/17/2013, 6:15 AM

Hezbollah flag
Hezbollah flag
Reuters

A senior Hezbollah commander died on Saturday after he was wounded in Syria several days ago, Al Arabiya reported, citing a pro-Hezbollah website.

“The Islamic resistance in Hezbollah proudly weds a new Knight...Ali Shabeeb (Abu Trab al-Rweis) who died as he was performing his sacred religious duty,” the website was quoted as having said.

The website did not mention where or when Shabeeb was killed inside Syria. Hezbollah is believed to have deployed thousands of fighters in Syria.

Hezbollah has admitted sending soldiers to Syria, at first claiming it seeks to protect sacred Shiite religious sites against potential attacks by the Sunni rebels.

The group helped the Syrian regime’s army retake the town of Al-Qusayr, which borders Lebanon, in May 2013, killing hundreds.

Hezbollah chief Nasrallah has promised that his group will be wherever is needed in Syria and has even declared he was willing to go fight in Syria himself.

He reiterated this promise in a speech last week.

“We have said on several occasions that the presence of our soldiers on Syrian soil is to defend... Syria, which supports the resistance” against Israel, Nasrallah said, according to Al Arabiya.

“So long as that reason exists, our presence there is justified. “Those who speak of our withdrawal from Syria as a condition to form a government in Lebanon know that it is an impossible condition,” he declared.

“We won't negotiate on the existence of Syria (in exchange for) a handful of ministries.”

A few weeks ago it was reported that Hezbollah was enlisting 15,000 fighters for what it is calling the “battle for Damascus.”

Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria has caused sectarian clashes in Lebanon. Rocket and bomb attacks have hit Hezbollah strongholds in the Bekaa Valley and in the capital.

Assad has turned to various groups of foreign fighters for help in his battle to maintain power, including Hezbollah, Iran, and North Korea. His opponents have had significant help from overseas as well; several thousand Islamist fighters from the Muslim world - and some from Europe, Israel and the United States as well - have reportedly joined the battle against Assad.