Hezbollah Kills 23 al-Qaeda Fighters in West Syria Drone Strikes

Drone Strikes Were Followed by Ground Offensive

In a move that could have far-reaching implications, Hezbollah has launched its first ever drone strikes today against several western Syrian bases belonging to al-Qaeda faction Jabhat al-Nusra, killing 23 fighters.

The strikes targeted bases near the Lebanese border town of Arsal, which has been contested by Nusra, ISIS, and other Syrian Islamist factions off and on in recent months. The strikes were reportedly followed by a ground offensive in which Hezbollah captured several additional fighters.

The capture of the fighters opens up the possibility of Hezbollah negotiating the release of kidnapped Lebanese soldiers held by the Islamist factions, which would go a long way toward improving public opinion of their involvement in the Syrian War in Lebanon.

Hezbollah has been known to have drone technology for awhile, but in the past has only used it for surveillance flights. The move toward drone strikes opens up the possibility of them using drones increasingly in the Syrian War, as well as in future wars with Israel.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.