Lebanon's Hezbollah scouts carry their parties flag while marching at the funeral of three Hezbollah fighters who were killed in Syria.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hezbollah forces have begun to evacuate territory near Syria's Golan region, not far from the Israeli border, after the US State Department demanded that the Lebanese terror organization immediately leave the area, Syrian news agency Al-Ittihad reported Thursday.
The report added that Hezbollah fighters began clearing their stronghold in the Qalamun Mountains nearly a week before the US military conducted airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's air force on April 6.
The US military operation was in response to a chemical attack allegedly carried out by government forces, which saw 78 people killed and over 550 wounded in the northwest town of Idlib last week.
Al-Ittihad did not say why the militants left their positions on the eastern Syrian border region.
Hezbollah captives in Syria attack the organization's involvement in the Syrian civil war
According to a number of sources who talked to the Syrian publication, at least 300 Hezbollah fighters have abandoned 14 positions in the Quneitra area, which sits in near proximity to Israel's Golan territory. The militants, according to sources, left with tanks, armored vehicles and heavy weapons as they made their way toward the Syrian capital of Damascus.
"Five vehicles accompanied by a number of... machine guns crossed the border from Lebanon and we believe that there were senior figures from Hezbollah or senior Iranian officials," the sources told the Syrian news website.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner on Tuesday addressed the threat the terrorist organization poses against the United States and its allies, demanding that they withdraw their forces and refrain carrying "on military operations in Syria in support of the [Assad] regime."
"Hezbollah forces have helped the Syrian [government] implement its brutality against its own people and also caused instability in Lebanon," Toner added.