Hundreds of Hezbollah fighters are participating in the Syrian Army’s attacks on civilians in eastern Ghouta.
According to Yediot Ahronot, Hezbollah sent fighters to eastern Ghouta following orders received from Major-General Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force.
Soleimani has classified Iranian personnel in Syria as military “advisors” and “combat trainers,” in order to avoid them being deployed to the front lines.
Local reporters revealed on Sunday that the Hezbollah fighters have gathered in the al-Makr base in the Damascus suburbs and are being sent to support Syrian infantry forces and irregular militia forces. According to estimates, 3,000 Hezbollah fighters have been sent to the military base in the Damascus suburbs in recent weeks.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 1,100 civilians have been killed in eastern Ghouta in the last three weeks. Casualties include 227 children and 154 women. The United Nations estimates that 400,000 civilians are trapped in the besieged area.
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has reportedly been downplaying Hezbollah’s participation in eastern Ghouta in order to avoid criticism of his decision to send fighters on a dangerous mission beyond Lebanon’s borders.
A military media unit run by Hezbollah said the Syrian Army had surrounded the town of Douma in eastern Ghouta. Douma’s local council said the city faces a “catastrophic” situation with thousands of families sheltering in open streets and public gardens as existing basements and shelters are already overcrowded.
Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has denied accusations that Syrian government forces used poisonous gas in their attacks on some suburbs of Damascus.