Hezbollah deploys 700 fighters near Syria's Golan Heights amid tension with Israel
The Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militia has deployed over 700 "elite fighters" near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has reported, amid heightened tensions with Israel.
The fighters were reportedly trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and were assembled from various countries in the Middle East, such as Syria, Iraq, and the occupied Palestinian territories.
They have been deployed to areas near the frontline with the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights in Al-Quneitra province, western Rif Dimashq province, and parts of western Daraa province.
The forces were said to have arrived in the area since October in small batches, circumventing any coordination with Syria’s ruling Assad regime, which is allied with Iran and Hezbollah.
The Assad regime has long kept the frontline with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights quiet, preventing any attacks on Israeli forces there.
Israel has traded fire with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon ever since the outbreak of war with Gaza last month.
At least 90 people have been killed on the Lebanese side in cross-border skirmishes, while six soldiers and two civilians have been killed on the Israeli side, according to AFP.
An estimated 1,200 Israelis were killed by the surprise Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October, while over 11,400 Palestinians including more than 4,700 children have been killed in Israel's indiscriminate retaliatory war on Gaza.