Hizballah this week transferred two brigades of some 5,000 fighters to the Aleppo front to bolster the Assad regime’s concentrated push to finally rout the rebels who have been holding out year after year in the eastern half of the ravaged city. Indiscriminate Syrian air strikes continue.
The new spearhead is made up of Hizballah’s heavy motorized rifle brigade of tanks and heavy weapons and its light commando brigade, which is trained to operate behind enemy lines. Their arrival brings the total number of Hizballah fighters in Syria to 15,000.
Russian military sources say that, after Aleppo is won for Bashar Assad, the two Lebanese Shiite brigades will turn to Idlib province in the north, to tackle the largest concentration in the country of Al Qaeda’s Syrian arm, the Nusra Front.
The two Hizballah brigades carry both American and Russian weaponry. DEBKAfile’s military sources report: The motorized rifle brigade is armed with American armored personnel carriers and tanks, whereas the Light Brigade carries Russian arms. Some of the units use both American and Russian hardware, like the Russian ZPU-2 anti tank guns which are mounted on US M113 APCs.
Sunday, Nov. 14, on the day that Hizballah started moving the two brigades to the Aleppo front, its propaganda machine released to the Arab media images of a military parade in Qusayr, in the Qalamoun mountain range of western Syria, showing Hizballah troops marching with American hardware. The parade, according to our sources, was faked, the point being to show the world that the Iranian proxy was amply supplied with American equipment.
Assad rewarded Hizballah for capturing Qusayr three years ago by allowing the Iranian proxy to turn the ghost town into a military center. Several workshops for recycling captured weapons for reuse in battle were set up there. (In the same way, the IDF recycled the masses of Russian weapons taken booty from Arab armies in the 60s and 70s.)
Another project was the creation and arming of the Light Brigade modeled on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards special operations units. They are equipped with highly adaptable “jihad-mobiles” which are designed to move in all-terrain and all-weather conditions to take the enemy by surprise from the rear. The battle of Aleppo sees their first operation in the Syrian war.
Like Syrian special forces units, the Hizballah Light Brigade drives Russian UAZ Patriot-SUV pickup trucks on which are mounted Kord heavy machine guns and AGS-17 grenade launchers. These vehicles are equipped with automatic filters adapted for combat in arid desert conditions to overcome difficulties in vision and breathing