Shiite group, allied with Assad, said unlikely to attack Israel unless West tries to topple Damascus regime
Hezbollah was reported to be mobilizing its forces in southern Lebanon on Thursday night in preparation for a possible US-led strike on Syria, and was said to be considering various retaliatory options against Israel should such an attack take place.
The top leadership of the Shiite terror group, which is closely aligned with the Bashar Assad government in Syria, was holding intensive discussions about the possible consequences of an attack on Syria and the appropriate response against Israel, Channel 10 reported, citing reports in the Lebanese media.
Hezbollah has raised its alert level and has begun deploying forces in south Lebanon in response to the current international debate over a possible attack on Syria in response to last week’s alleged chemical weapons use by Syrian forces, the report said.
Hezbollah is unlikely to attack Israel unless a Western assault on Syria aims to topple Assad or seriously damage the Syrian army’s capabilities, a senior source with ties to Hezbollah told the Daily Star on Wednesday.
“If the Western attack is limited to certain targets in Syria, then, Hezbollah will not intervene,” the source said.
However, “in the event of a qualitative [Western military] strike that aims to change the balance of power in Syria, Hezbollah will fight on various fronts,” he added, an event that “will plunge Lebanon virtually and immediately into the inferno of a war with Israel.”
The entry of Hezbollah troops into the Syrian civil war several months ago is credited as being a major factor in the Syrian government’s recent gains against the opposition, but has caused the terrorist group to face severe criticism in Lebanon.
Israel and Hezbollah last fought directly in 2006, after Hezbollah kidnapped two IDF soldiers patrolling the northern border, leading to the Second Lebanon War, characterized by intense rocket fire into Israeli territory and an IAF air campaign over Lebanon.
Hezbollah is understood to have several thousand rockets trained at Israel at all times, which, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said last month, have been largely provided by the Syrian government.