Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group told Al-Manar TV they welcome Russia’s increased presence in Syria. In gratitude for their support, the Syrian army gave at least 75 Soviet-era tanks to Hezbollah troops in Syria.
“The failure of America and the international coalition to bring defeat to Daesh was one of the reasons which called or pushed Russia to also come, and to get directly involved,” said leader Hassan Nasrallah. “We welcome any force which intervenes and supports the front in Syria, because through its participation, it will contribute to pushing away the major dangers that are threatening Syria and the region.”
Nasrallah also lashed out at NATO-member Turkey. He claimed the country “could do more to stop the flow of jihadists to Syria.” However, the Turkish government has consistently made it known that they do not support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A day later, Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai reported the Syrian government provided 75 tanks to Hezbollah. From Israel National News:
The tanks are models T-55 and T-72 and intended to help Hezbollah create an armored division, supposedly to fight against al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups. In addition, Russia has approved a plan for 100 Iranian officers and special forces troops to help teach Hezbollah urban warfare skills.
The report further claimed that Russia, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah have opened a “joint operations room” to coordinate their fight against ISIS.
The influx of Islamists near the Israeli border alerted officials, who then “held a large-scale drill simulating a possible advance into Syria and the evacuation of Israeli civilians from border communities.”
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Putin asserted that Syria is too involved with its civil war and threats from radical Islamic groups to start a war with Israel.
“All of Russia’s actions in the region will always be very responsible,” claimed Putin. “We are aware of the shelling against Israel and we condemn all such shelling. I know that these shellings are carried out by internal elements. In regard to Syria, we know that the Syrian army is in a situation such that it is incapable of opening a new front.”