Israel says Hezbollah helping Syria President Bashar al-Assad survive


Syrian mourners shout slogans as they stand under pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L and R), late president Hafez al-Assad (top C) and Lebanon's Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah during the mass funeral of 44 people killed in twin suicide bombings which targeted intelligence agency compounds at the Omayyad Mosque in Damascus on December 24, 2011.


Louai Beshara

Members of the Israeli defense and intelligence establishment said this week that Hezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese militant organization with close ties to both Syria and Iran, is helping bolster the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Haaretz reported.

On Wednesday Aviv Kochavi, Chief Major General of Military Intelligence said "They are providing [Assad] with knowledge, weapons and other means and recently with active involvement," according to the newspaper.

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A day earlier, Benny Gantz of the Israel Defense Forces suggested that Syria’s uprising could cause the Assad regime to lash out militarily toward Israel.

In Lebanon, worries over the situation in Syria are spreading as well.

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt — called the “weathervane” because of his history of jumping alliances when the political winds shift —said that there is a dispute between his party and Hezbollah over Syria. “The problem lies in that the party [Hezbollah] holds onto its position,” he said to Al-Akhbar newspaper, according to The Daily Star.

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The Syria conflict is spreading across the border as well. The Washington Post reported that ill-equipped members of the Free Syrian Army are currently located in Akkar, northern Lebanon:

But the men in north Lebanon, all of them Sunni Muslims, said that they lived in poverty and secrecy, numbering a few hundred at most, and had limited access to weapons, prompting questions about the capability of the organization to have a substantial impact on well-armed and organized Alawite-led Syrian security forces.