Hezbollah Squares Off With Syrian Rebels as War Spills Over Into Lebanon

New Clashes Erupt in Northern Lebanon City of Tripoli

Recent Israeli attacks had Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah promising more aid for the Syrian military, and it seems his militia is making good today, as a joint force of Syrian soldiers and Lebanese fighters attack the town of Qusair, along the border between the two nations.

The town has been held by Syrian rebels for quite some time, and is now facing Hezbollah shelling as well as advances by Syrian troops, with rebels claiming “at least 32” people killed, though some factions are as usual claiming far more deaths than others.

Rebels also reported that Hezbollah commander Faid al-Jazzar was slain in the fighting in the town. Jazzar was held in an Israeli jail for 14 years for “membership in an illegal organization.” Rebels also reportedly shelled a Lebanese town on the other side of the border, but no casualties were reported there.

Hezbollah has had a limited but meaningful role in Syria’s civil war, though up until now it had primarily focused on protecting Shi’ites in border villages and religious sites from rebel attack.

The renewed fighting at the border has also started the sectarian clashes in Tripoli all over again, with reports of at least one person killed and four wounded in fighting between the city’s Alawite and Sunni neighborhoods.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.