Hezbollah's Future Military Strategy in Syria

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Lebonan
Monday, 05 October 2015


Following the negotiations between Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistant movement and Ahrar ash-Sham, representing Jaish al-Fatah, the two sides agreed on September 20 to implement terms of a bilateral 6-month ceasefire. Based on the deal, the Hezbollah forces will stop clashes in southern front which includes Al-Zabadani, Madaya, Baghin, Serghaya and other military zones in the region, as on the opposing front in north, the Jaish al-Fatah forces will stop fighting in the towns of Fu'ah, Kafarya, Bensh, Taftaz, Taoum, Maarat Misrin, Ram Hamdan, Zardna, Shalakh and Idlib city. Accordingly, the truce also allows the Jaish al-Al-Fatah forces and their families to fully leave Al-Zabadani. Their exit route is a twisting way. According to the agreement, some 40-50 of the rebels’ families will enter Lebanon, Syria, and finally will be transferred to the Turkish territories. Al-Zabadani is geographically located in a region that all of its neighboring regions are controlled by the Lebanese resistant movement, Hezbollah. The important part of the deal is the exit of the children under 10, and the adults over 50 from Fu'ah and Kafarya, who make up 10,000 of the total population of the two towns. Moreover, according to the agreement, about 10,000 other people will be transferred out of the towns to receive the necessary medical treatments. So, with the transition of about 20,000 people from the Shiite population of the two towns of Fu'ah and Kafarya a huge population reposition would be observed which, regardless of the quality of its relocation, is considered to be a significant sign in the determination of the country’s fate in the future.

Key regions

The truce has been reached after several months of negotiations. While negotiation had faced stalemate on August 27, after the militant groups Ahrar ash-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa and Turkistan Islamic Party launched seven heavy suicidal attacks on the defense lines in Fu'ah and Kafarya, and killing at least 250 people on September 18, the two sides finally inked a truce deal.

It seems that the 6-month ceasefire agreement showcases a view of the Syrian government’s military strategy, and demonstrates the possible geopolitical pattern of the country in the future. At the time being, Latakia and Tartus provinces, large parts of the provinces of Hama, Hems and the capital Damascus, and small parts in Quneitra, Daraa and Al-Suwayda are under the control of Syrian army and Hezbollah forces. These regions build up a strip in the western Syria, and links the other areas to the high sea and the Lebanon’s border. M-5 highway also connects this area to one another. It is likely that the Syrian government’s military strategy is based on the doctrine of preserving these pivotal areas at any cost. So, the theory gains ground that the Syrian government has set its political and military approach on saving and controlling the mentioned areas which include a unanimous geographical stretch mostly containing the two Alawites and the Druze.

This hypothesis indicates unofficial acceptation of Syria’s partition, as the only obstacle ahead of the formalization of the partitioning process is the

Syrian military’s sporadic presence in the following areas:

1- Al-Qamishli airport

2- A small part of Al-Hasakah

3- Deir ez-Zor military airport

4- The four towns of Nobol, Al-Zahraa, Boshkoy and Handarat as well as three airports of Kweires, Aleppo and Nayreb and the military industrial zone in Aleppo province.

Four-part military plan of Government and Hezbollah

In addition to securing the access to the high sea and roads that link Syria to Lebanon, there is a pivotal issue in the military calculations that is highly significant for the Resistance Axis.

The bottom line is that areas held by the Syrian government must have access to the Palestinian occupied lands; namely areas which were taken from the Resistance forces’ in 2014, and despite an extensive operation launched from January 28, 2015 to February 8, 2015 in the country's southern front, significant parts of this area are still controlled by the rebel forces, which play the role of a buffer point between the Resistance forces and the Israeli regime. So, in the possible future military strategy the Hezbollah forces and Syrian army would map out a four-part duty plan.

According to the plan, the Syrian army and Hezbollah’s forces would jointly launch their operations in three parts, and the fourth part remains exclusively as an area of action for the Resistance forces to deal with.

The first three parts of the military plan aim at achieving the following goals:

1- Preserving the security of Lattakia port city mainly by launching operations in northeast of Sahl el-Ghab in west of Hama province's. This part of the plan will be carried out continuously without setting a certain objective. Additionally, more missions would be on the agenda to regain Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib’s southwest as well as other operations in Latakia’s northeast.

2- Establishing a safe zone in Syria’s central regions with the intention of preserving the gas-rich areas located between Hems and Palmyra, and starting a defensive operation around Palmyra historical town. Moreover, the Tayas and Shirat strategic military airports would be reinforced to be used for airstrikes in the country’s central areas. Generally, the operations in this part are to be carried out persistently and without a defined goal.

3- Mopping up Damascus' outskirts from terrorists, and pressing ahead with some limited operations in southern and northern Ghouta and the Damascus’ southern suburbs are the purposes of the continuous operations programmed in the third part of the upcoming military strategy.

4- The fourth part that is exclusive to Resistance forces contains launching operations in the Golan Heights.

The fact that the fourth part of the Syria’s military plan is limited to Hezbollah can be justified regarding the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu one-day visit to Moscow on September 21. The Israeli regime’s PM's visit to Moscow was made after some news was circulated about the recent Russian military buildup in Syria. The Kremlin's spokesman commented on the objectives of Netanyahu’s tour to Russia, saying that two sides have reached some certain agreements on making the coordinations about the military operations in the Syrian territories.

Even more, the Israeli sources have claimed that President Putin and Netanyahu have drawn red lines in adoptation of the possible future strategy in Syria. Touching on the goals of the visit, the Israeli regime’s radio said that the objective was to block the possible clashes between Russia and the Israeli regime and to avoid misunderstandings concerning the events in Syria. The Israeli radio added that although Tel Aviv regime cannot prevent from Russian military presence in Syria it will do its best to avoid any military confrontation with Moscow.

According to abovementioned notes the Resistance forces would launch the fourth part of the military plan in Syria alone, as some clashes between them and the Israeli forces are likely in which Syrian government as well as Russia would not participate. Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has anticipated that the fourth part of the military plan in Syria would be carried out within the next 90 days.

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