Hezbollah supporters during a televized speech by the group's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Mohammad al-Kabash was a member of the Lebanese Resistance Brigades who died Saturday on the Syrian battlefield, during lethal fights that took place between Hezbollah and Syrian Sunni militias in Aleppo's southern countryside.
Surprisingly, Kabash, a Sunni Lebanese, died fighting alongside Hezbollah, renouncing his sectarian affiliation with the Sunni militias. Altogether, Hezbollah lost seven of its militiamen during Saturday's battles.
Kabash's death sheds light on the story of the Lebanese Resistance Brigades. Established by Hezbollah in 1997, the brigades were aimed at recruiting Sunni and Christian youth to struggle against the "Israeli occupation of Lebanon."
However, since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, the group directs most of its efforts inwards, providing Hezbollah with fighters for its crucial battles in territories held by Syrian opposition factions.
According to the Lebanese media, the main stronghold of the Resistance Brigades is the southern region connecting Sidon and Beirut, which is home to many poor and unemployed people who carry grievances against the Lebanese government.
These people, many of whom are helpless Syrian refugees living in dire conditions, serve as a tool for Hezbollah and its patron, Iran, to Shi'itize Lebanon, thereby igniting the sectarian fire in the state.
The Resistance Brigades also compete for the hearts of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. While many Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon have long served as a hotbed for radical Sunni organizations operating in Syria, the brigades paint themselves as a champion of the Palestinian resistance. In this light, violent conflicts between Hezbollah supporters and Palestinians affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS recurrently take place in the refugee camps in Lebanon.
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A statement released by Hezbollah on Saturday, eulogizing Kabash, read: "The Islamic Resistance is proud to announce the martyrdom of one of Zaineb's (the daughter of Imam Ali, a major Shi'ite symbol) knights, Mohammad Khabash."
The fact that Kabash, a Sunni fighter, is hailed with Shi'ite terms demonstrates that Hezbollah's infiltration into the Sunni community in Lebanon is prevalent to the extent that many Sunnis are willing to put aside the sectarian conflict and join the organization.
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