Zabadani, a town tucked between the Lebanese borders and Damascus, is witnessing one of the most ferocious battles in Syria.
The battle pegs Hezbollah against a rag tag of Islamist and non-Islamist rebels. Maher al-Assad's 4th Army is aiding Hezbollah. The battle, almost one month old, is causing many casualties on both sides.
What is important about the battle are the tactics Hezbollah is using in a mountainous region that is as rugged as South Lebanon is, but without the big hills to conquer. The Qalamoun region is existential for Hezbollah because it secures its supply lines coming from Iran via Damascus or Latakya.
Zabadani is the last bastion in the Qalamoun the rebels have controlled since 2012.
Hezbollah is pulling out all the stops to conquer Zabadani. Every military tactic and training Hezbollah has secretly developed to fight the Israelis in the south are most likely being utilized in the Zabadani battle, which makes this battle essential to eventually beat Hezbollah back.
With every Hezbollah death, Syrians are learning their tactics, their traps, and the military advantages Hezbollah relies upon to win its battles.
In the beginning of the battle for Qalamoun, Syrian rebels fell into few traps Hezbollah set-up to kill as many Syrian rebels. Today, the Syrian rebels have accustomed themselves well enough with Hezbollah's field operations to avoid any traps. The death coming on both sides are more conventional than ever before.
The Zabadani battle, even if lost, will peel away Hezbollah's military way of thinking, which should, in the long-run, help the Syrian rebels defeat Hezbollah in Syria.
So, the real battle against Hezbollah in Syria is just beginning. The more battle victories Hezbollah is able to win, the higher the chances it will be defeated tomorrow. Why? Because Syrian mothers do not complain about their sons dying to protect the homeland from a foreign invasion.