Hezbollah training Syria's 1st Corps to use in future war against Israel

Hezbollah’s Southern Headquarters trains Syrian troops and collects intelligence on IDF

Hezbollah is preparing the Syrian Arab Army’s 1st Corps for a future war against Israel, training its commanders and soldiers as well as deploying it for intelligence gathering against the IDF in the Golan Heights.

Following the return of regime forces to the south of the country and the rebuilding of the SAA which was decimated over the course of the ongoing civil war, the influence of Lebanon’s Hezbollah on the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has been increasing dramatically.

Should the Lebanese terror group decide to carry out an attack from the Golan Heights, Hezbollah will use the SAA’s 1st Corps which has significant weaponry and logistics available to them. Using the 1st Corps will not only provide Hezbollah with better mobility and firepower, but it will also provide the manpower.

Israel’s military, which has accused the SAA of helping Hezbollah establish a permanent military presence on the Golan Heights, believes that the Lebanese terror group has been using it’s Southern Headquarters operation led by the group’s southern commander Hajj Hashem to not only gather intelligence on the IDF, but train forces for war with Israel.

Hashem, whose real name is Munir Ali Na’im Shaiti, has extensive operational experience commanding forces against the IDF and has been involved in several terror attacks against Israeli civilians.

He has been identified by Israel’s military as training the incoming commander of the Syrian army’s 1st Division, Lua’a Ali Ahmad Asa’ad.

Although the commanders of the Southern Headquarters are all Lebanese Hezbollah, the troops are all local Syrians. According to a report by Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), Shaiti has recruited over 3,500 locals in southwest Syria by financial incentives since mid-2018.

The intelligence gathering is carried out through dozens of SAA observation posts along the Syrian Golan Heights, and while there are SAA soldiers in each post, sometimes accompanied by Hezbollah operatives, all orders are given by Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s Southern Headquarters runs parallel to the group’s Golan Project which carries out operational activities against Israel. Headquartered in Damascus as well as Beirut, there are hundreds of operatives operating in southern Syria, namely in the towns of Hadar, Quinetra and Erneh.

Operatives involved in the clandestine project, led by Ali Mussa Daqduq (Abu Hussein Sajed), have weaponry available from the civil war and if needed, can receive additional weaponry from Lebanon or existing arsenals kept by Hezbollah and Iran.

Israel, which has stated that it will not allow Hezbollah to entrench itself on the Golan Heights has, according to foreign reports, carried out several strikes against operatives belonging to the Golan Project. In March, on Israel’s third election day, the IDF accused Hezbollah and the SAA of being behind an attempted sniper attack against troops in the Golan Heights.

The attack was thwarted by an Israeli strike on the suspect’s car.

While Israel does not believe that Hezbollah plans to provoke a war with Israel in the near future, the IDF is concerned that any major event which threatens the regime in Tehran, such as a miscalculation by Washington against Iran in the Persian Gulf or in Iraq might lead Hezbollah to attack Israel.

Israel’s military is also aware that it’s war-between-wars campaign against Iran in Syria, which has upped its ante in recent weeks, might push Hezbollah to attack Israel.

In addition to Hezbollah activities on the Golan Heights, the group which once used to act against the IDF in the area of the Sheeba Farms, has been active along the entire Lebanese border. Should a war break out in the north, the IDF expects it will not be contained to one front but along the entire northern border with both Lebanon and Syria.

As such, the IDF has heightened its state of alert in the north, increasing its intelligence gathering, training of troops, and more in order to prepare for any deterioration which might lead to war.

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