Hezbollah and Iran are preparing for the “day after” Syria’s downfall with plans
for how to continue supporting the Lebanon-based guerrilla group in the event
that President Bashar Assad’s regime is toppled.
In recent years, a
significant portion of Hezbollah’s weaponry has come directly from
'Hezbollah acting in Syria against protesters'
Last week, for example, The Jerusalem Post
revealed that Syria had
recently transferred dozens of additional M600 long-range missiles to Hezbollah
as well as additional 302 mm rockets.
The IDF also believes Hezbollah has
obtained SA-8 Russian-made advanced surface-to-air missile systems from
“The assessment that Hezbollah will be severely impacted by
Syria’s downfall is unlikely since it will be able to fill the vacuum with
assistance directly from Iran,” a senior Israeli defense official
According to Military Intelligence, Hezbollah is currently
providing assistance to Assad in the form of weapons, instructors and actual
fighters who are assisting the Syrian military in its efforts to quell the
Iran is already believed to be working on establishing new
routes to smuggle weapons to Lebanon. In recent years, for example, Iran has
tried transporting weaponry to Lebanon via aircraft that lands in Beirut
International Airport, ships that dock in Syria and then transfer their cargo by
land to Lebanon and even by train via Turkey.
The IDF believes Assad will
fall within the coming year. In recent weeks, the number of defections in the
military has risen to approximately 1,300 soldiers and officers and draft
numbers are down. As a result, the Syrian military is refusing to discharge
soldiers who have completed their compulsory military service.
prediction that Assad will fall is based on a combination of three factors –
Syria’s failing economy, its refusal to insert fresh blood into the ranks of the
leadership and the military’s failure to stop the opposition.
Al-Arabiya reported Hezbollah forces were deployed in Syria to protect a
military base where Iranian soldiers were deployed after it was attacked by
Rebel groups have had some success fighting
against Assad-loyalist troops and are reported to have taken control of several
towns near Damascus. Assad’s crackdown on protesters has resulted in the deaths
of more than 5,000 people, according to UN estimates.