BEIRUT, Lebanon — Sidling down the mean streets of Syria with his rifle, he picks off his enemies relentlessly: Ahmed is the hero of the video game launched Wednesday by Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.
The Shiite paramilitary group held a ceremony and news conference in Beirut to unveil the latest production of its electronic media department, which it named “Sacred Defense – Protecting the Homeland And Holy Sites.”
“It reflects Hezbollah’s experience in Syria,” Hassan Allam, one of the game’s developers, told AFP.
The first-person shooter game is a low-cost spinoff of bestseller “Call of Duty” that glorifies the group’s battles in the ongoing Syrian conflict.
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The scenario’s introductory sequence has Ahmed in plain clothes visiting the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine, one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam.
The mausoleum comes under attack and Ahmed reappears wearing a military uniform in a room whose walls bearing a poster of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
The game allows for a series of different battles, including against the Islamic State jihadist group, in a variety of different locations, including Syria’s border with Lebanon.
Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and is often considered to have more firepower than Lebanon’s own regular army, deployed fighters in Syria in 2013.
They have since fought alongside the forces of President Bashar Assad, an intervention widely seen as a major factor in the regime’s survival.
Two years into the Syrian conflict, the Assad regime’s grip on Damascus at the time was tenuous and its days looked numbered, but it has since regained significant ground.