US Sen. Lindsey Graham warned Feb. 27 after a trip to the Middle East that Israel was preparing for war. Hezbollah appears to be ready for the possibility. It is honing its skills and playing a multifaceted role in Syria, where it has also realized several important goals, according to one of its militants and sources close to the Lebanese group.
Syria is facing a new turn in its civil war, and Hezbollah militants haven’t shown this much anticipation at the possibility of a conflict with Israel since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011.
“We are very ready for the possibility of a war breaking out, and it will be unlike any other,” said Ahmad, a Hezbollah sniper who spoke with Al-Monitor in Lebanon on condition of anonymity.
A source close to Hezbollah fighters, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al-Monitor that the recent February faceoff between Israel on one side and Iran, Hezbollah and Syria on the other was an ambush staged by Tehran.
On Feb. 10, Syria shot down an Israeli F-16 fighter jet, after an Iranian drone was launched into Israel, followed by an Israeli attack on Syria and Iranian interests in Syria. “The Iranians are fed up with Israel’s systematic targeting of weapon plants and the destruction of weapon transfers to Hezbollah. The targeting of Israeli planes is primarily an Iranian message to the Israelis that the rules of engagement have changed in Syria,” the source said. Israel has bombed Syrian and Iranian interests — including Hezbollah’s — more than 100 times in Syria.
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