Hizballah fighters since 2011 have gained substantial combat experience in the Syrian civil war, conducting offensive operations and developing urban warfare skills that will likely bolster the group’s military capabilities in future conflicts, including with Israel.According to a US think tank, Hizballah as of this year had an estimated 5,000 fighters spread across the Levant region, and a large portion of them have traveled to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
- Since 2011, Hizballah has regularly rotated fighters from its base in Lebanon into and out of Syria, largely to spread valuable combat experience across its ranks. In May 2013, Hizballah’s involvement in Syria shifted from an advisory position to a combat role during the 17-day battle of al-Qusayr in western Syria, where up to 1,700 of the group’s fighters helped Assad win an important victory over anti-regime forces.
- Since 2013, Hizballah has aided the Assad regime in clearing neighborhoods in major cities such as Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo—allowing group fighters to apply the urban warfare training they have taken in Iran and Lebanon since 2006.
- During the 2006 war with Israel, Hizballah launched rockets and deployed guerilla fighters along the border to slow the progression of Israeli soldiers into the country. We assess that military lessons learned in Syria could aid Hizballah in sending fighters across the Israeli border.