Source: Naharnet (Hizbullah Incurs Very Heavy Casualties in Aleppo Province)
Hizbullah has suffered very heavy casualties in the southern countryside of the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, incurring the highest toll of deaths and injuries since the 2013 Qusayr battle, Syrian opposition activists have announced.
The party has lost at least 25 fighters in the clashes that have been raging for several days, the activists said, amid official announcements by the party about its deaths and reports about the disappearance of several members whose fate is still unknown.
“Hizbullah and the Iranians are dismayed by the fact that the Russian warplanes are not supporting them,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported, noting that the Syrian army and its allies “might anytime lose the town of al-Hader south of Aleppo should the absence of Russia’s aerial support continue.”
According to Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, at least 186 combatants from both sides have been killed since Tuesday – 86 from the regime and its allies, including 25 Hizbullah members, and 100 anti-regime Islamist fighters.
“The factions of the (al-Nusra Front-led) Army of Conquest seized the town of Khalsa and moved to Zitan and Birna before liberating them within only a few hours,” the opposition Sham News Network reported, adding that “more than 50 members of the Shiite militias were killed in the three towns.”
“Rebel forces are advancing towards the town of al-Hader and amassing their fighters around it,” the network said, noting that “the town is the main stronghold of the Iranian forces and the foreign militias that operate under their command.”
Hizbullah’s intervention in the Syrian conflict alongside regime forces has helped Damascus achieve several military victories and allowed the party to clear most of the Lebanese-Syrian border region from rebels and jihadists.
Since 2013, the Lebanese, Iran-backed party has sent thousands of combatants — between 5,000 and 6,000, according to the expert on Hizbullah Waddah Sharara — to help the regime fight both rebels and jihadists.
They send 2,000 fighters at a time in rotation, Sharara says.
Experts say Hizbullah has lost 1,000 to 2,000 fighters in the conflict, including senior commanders.