Hezbollah is receiving long-range missiles, laser-guided rockets and other sophisticated weaponry directly from Russia in Syria, and is free to use that weaponry against Israel if it so chooses, Hezbollah fighters told the Daily Beast website.
In a report published Monday, Hezbollah field commanders with troops fighting alongside Assad regime forces were quoted saying that they are getting “heavy weapons directly from Russia with no strings attached.”
“We are strategic allies… The Russians are our allies and give us weapons,” said a Hezbollah officer named as Commander Bakr, who oversees some 200 fighters.
A Hezbollah recruiter and trainer named Assir was quoted saying Moscow has placed no restriction on the use Hezbollah can make of Russian arms. They can be utilized “against Israel if the organization deems it necessary,” the report said.
“When it comes to Israel,” Assir was quoted saying, “Hezbollah doesn’t take directions from anyone.”
The Daily Beast noted, however, that it was “not clear” that Assir was “in a senior enough position to know what secret agreements have been made.”
Both Hezbollah sources also said that the group doesn’t really need Russian weaponry to take on Israel, because it has enough Iranian weaponry. “They say they are fully prepared to withstand an invasion on the southern border with the Iranian arms in their arsenal,” the Daily Beast said.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister said last week that Russia would not change a decision to keep Hamas and Hezbollah off its list of terrorist organizations.
Israel has repeatedly attacked arms depots in Syria and convoys carrying weapons to Hezbollah from Syria in recent years, according to foreign reports, and has sometimes acknowledged carrying out such strikes. It has said that it will not allow advanced weaponry to reach Hezbollah forces.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in close coordination to ensure no mishaps occur as Russian deepens its involvement in bolstering the Assad regime, and Israel faces off warily against Hezbollah, the Iranian-funded terrorist army against which it fought the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Israel was widely reported to have been behind the killing in Damascus last month of Hezbollah terrorist Samir Kuntar. Last week, Hezbollah bombed army vehicles on the northern border in a revenge attack.