Spotlight on Terrorism: Hezbollah, Lebanon and Syria (July 28 – August 3, 2023)

Hezbollah schoolgirls march along the Israel-Lebanon border (Ali Shoeib's Twitter account, August 12, 2023)

Hezbollah schoolgirls march along the Israel-Lebanon border (Ali Shoeib's Twitter account, August 12, 2023)

Ali Hamia (black shirt, blue hat) near the Israeli border (Ali Shoeib's Twitter account, August 12, 2023)

Ali Hamia (black shirt, blue hat) near the Israeli border (Ali Shoeib's Twitter account, August 12, 2023)

A recent photo of the Hezbollah tent (belwasat.com, August 9, 2023)

A recent photo of the Hezbollah tent (belwasat.com, August 9, 2023)

"Allah's revenge" (al-Manar, August 11, 2023)

Nasrallah meets with the Iranian delegation (Radio al-Nur, August 12, 2023)

Nasrallah meets with the Iranian delegation (Radio al-Nur, August 12, 2023)

Ababil-3 and Qasef-1 UAVs (Wikipedia; al-Haqiqa, March 12, 2017)

Ababil-3 and Qasef-1 UAVs (Wikipedia; al-Haqiqa, March 12, 2017)

Overview
  • This past week tension continued along the Israel-Lebanon border, although somewhat less than in recent weeks. A Molotov cocktail was thrown from Lebanon into Israeli territory. No casualties were reported.
  • Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah secretary general, gave a speech for the anniversary of the Second Lebanon War in which he warned Israel not to wage a war against Lebanon. He said the confrontation would develop into a war of Israel vs. the entire “resistance axis” [Hezbollah, Iran and the Palestinian terrorist organizations], and Israel would cease to exist. He also related to Hezbollah’s “historic victory” in the Second Lebanon War, the crisis in Israeli society and Lebanon’s internal affairs. Regarding a possible war, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general said they had not decided on a comprehensive mil confrontation with Israel.
  • Hezbollah revealed a twin-barreled anti-tank missile-launching system capable of firing two missiles almost simultaneously. In ITIC assessment, it will be used to improve the chances of hitting IDF armored vehicles, especially Merkava 4 Windbreaker tanks.
  • The United States Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the Hezbollah-supporting Green Without Borders organization.
  • The UN Security Council formulated a draft proposal for renewing the UNIFIL mandate in Lebanon, which apparently did not include the amendments requested by Lebanon. The UNIFIL commander met with representatives of Israel and Lebanon to discuss the situation along the border.
  • On August 14, 2023, in preparation for experimental drilling in the Qana gas field, a drilling rig arrived off the coast of Lebanon. Hezbollah initiated a campaign on the social media relating to the “success” of its activities.
  • Explosions occurred in Hezbollah missile warehouses in Syria. Reports of the cause were contradictory. Hezbollah trained pro-Iranian militia operatives in the use of UAVs. New organizations in the Deir ez-Zor region have become active against Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Hezbollah and Lebanon
Tension along the Israel-Lebanon border
  • On August 13, 2023, a Molotov cocktail was thrown from Lebanon into Israeli territory in the Metulla area, apparently by a Hezbollah operative. There were no casualties. IDF forces fired warning shots into the air (jns.org, August 13, 2023).
  • On August 12, 2023, dozens of female students from Hezbollah schools in south Lebanon held a march across from Metulla to mark the 17th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War (Ali Shoeib’s Twitter account, August 12, 2023).
Hezbollah schoolgirls march along the Israel-Lebanon border (Ali Shoeib's Twitter account, August 12, 2023)     Hezbollah schoolgirls march along the Israel-Lebanon border (Ali Shoeib's Twitter account, August 12, 2023)
Hezbollah schoolgirls march along the Israel-Lebanon border (Ali Shoeib’s Twitter account, August 12, 2023)
  • On August 15, 2023, Hezbollah-affiliated Ali Hamia, Lebanese minister of transportation and public works, conducted a tour along the border from the region of Rosh Hanikra in the west to Har Dov (Kafr Chouba) in the east. He was accompanied by ministry personnel, who wanted to examine infrastructure operations (Ali Shoeib’s Twitter account, August 15, 2023). He said that “on the last bit of our liberated land, we state that the ministry of transportation and public works will always stand with the residents of south Lebanon” (Ali Hamia’s Twitter account, August 15, 2023). In ITIC assessment, Hezbollah is liable to exploit the development of civil infrastructure works for military purposes in violation of the UN resolutions prohibiting it from carrying out military activity along the border.
Ali Hamia (black shirt, blue hat) near the Israeli border (Ali Shoeib's Twitter account, August 12, 2023)    Ali Hamia (black shirt, blue hat) near the Israeli border (Ali Shoeib's Twitter account, August 12, 2023)
Ali Hamia (black shirt, blue hat) near the Israeli border (Ali Shoeib’s Twitter account, August 12, 2023)
  • On August 9, 2023, an updated photo was published of the tent erected by Hezbollah about two months ago on the Israeli side of the border (belwasat.com, August 9, 2023). On August 12, 2023, according to reports, the tent had not been manned in recent days (Israeli media, August 12, 2023).
A recent photo of the Hezbollah tent (belwasat.com, August 9, 2023)
A recent photo of the Hezbollah tent (belwasat.com, August 9, 2023)
Nasrallah’s speech for the 17th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War
  • On August 14, 2023, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah secretary general, gave a speech for the 17th anniversary of the end of the Second Lebanon War (al-Manar, August 14, 2023). His main points were the following:
    • Establishing a victory narrative: Nasrallah began by claiming the “victory” in July 2006 was a “historical victory [with implications] for the future,” adding that “without the results of the war in July 2006, the subsequent victories would not have been achieved.” He claimed the victories had put Lebanon in a new situation, adding that “the process of delineating the maritime borders and beginning the search for oil and gas would not have been possible without the results of the July 2006 war.” According to Nasrallah, “the enemy” had sought to destroy Hezbollah’s power and occupy large parts of Lebanon, but failed because of the success of the resistance in Lebanon to inflict heavy losses on the attacking forces and home front. The war ended after 33 days of fighting, during which the Israeli forces had failed to occupy Lebanese territory and had been powerfully attacked on land, at sea and in the air. In addition, he claimed, dozens of rocket barrages attacked south Haifa and killed “dozens of settlers,” and about 150 soldiers of the “occupation army” were killed, most of them in elite units, in addition to hundreds of wounded and the destruction of tanks and military equipment. He thanked everyone who had supported Hezbollah in the war, especially Syria and Iran.
    • A threat to Israel: Nasrallah said the IDF’s condition had never been worse. Referring to the statement by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant, he said “the threat of the enemy’s Minister of War to send Lebanon back to the Stone Age is not new, but what they have to understand is what Lebanon and Hezbollah can do to the enemy entity. I say to this enemy, if you go to war against Lebanon, you also will be returned to the Stone Age. Your civilian airports, military airports, air force bases, power plants, the water [desalination] plants, central communication centers, refineries and the reactor in Dimona… Can the enemy calculate how many precise missiles Hezbollah needs to hit all those targets…? Even if you activate the Iron Dome, David’s Sling and Patriots and intercept some of the missiles, [will you know] how many such missiles are necessary?” He hinted Israel would find it difficult to estimate how many missiles Hezbollah had. He also threatened that “all of this [will happen] if the campaign is waged only against Hezbollah in Lebanon, but what if it develops into a war against the entire ‘axis of resistance’? Maybe you will return this or that country to the Stone Age, but if the campaign develops into a campaign against the entire axis of resistance, there will be nothing left called Israel.”
    • The maritime border agreement: Nasrallah stated that it would have been impossible to delineate Lebanon’s maritime border without the state’s resistance and its firm, aggressive stance regarding its rights. He added that what really guaranteed the preservation of Lebanon’s natural resources was the preservation of the existing power structure, especially the strength of the “resistance” [Hezbollah]. He claimed the “resistance” had made Israel withdraw from its previous position, leading to the maritime border agreement, and it would also make Israel withdraw from the disputed land border areas.
    • The crisis in Israeli society: “Israel’s leaders have to know that it is not a game of making political capital, but of existing or ceasing to exist,” he said. He repeated his usual claim that “the enemy today is weaker politically, militarily and morally compared to 2006, while Hezbollah and the axis or resistance [Hezbollah, Iran and the Palestinian terrorist organizations] are much stronger than they were then.” He added, “After 2006, the Zionists added defense as a fourth component to the concept of security, with the result that they had to find systems to intercept missiles, investing both a lot of effort and a lot of money. Since 2006, the enemy has been conducting home-front maneuvers to ensure its readiness, while all reports say it is not ready.” He said, “The most important thing on the home front is the unwillingness of the settlers, residents and the occupiers to make sacrifices and bear the consequences,” adding that “after 17 years of maneuvers, equipment and development, the Israelis have not rehabilitated the army’s image. The enemy went from attack and initiative to having to defend itself, while the condition of the IDF has never been worse. Its fighting spirit is weak, the commanders and political echelon do not trust each other, the fighting units suffer from low recruitment and there are no achievements on the ground, as can be seen by the failed attempt to storm the Gaza Strip.”
    • The Hezbollah truck that overturned on the outskirts of Beirut: Nasrallah explained it was an accident caused by a technical malfunction, claiming incident had been “normal” until a popular TV channel incited the public by reporting that the truck had been carrying weapons. He claimed the incident was under investigation and they were waiting for its findings.
    • A warning against civil war: Nasrallah warned there were leaders who led their countries to civil war and in such a situation everyone lost, therefore everyone had to act responsibly.
Nasrallah delivers a speech (al-Manar, August 14, 2023)
Nasrallah delivers a speech (al-Manar, August 14, 2023)
Na’im Qassem: No decision has been made for a military confrontation
  • Interviewed by the Iranian Mehr News Agency on August 13, 2023, Na’im Qassem, Hezbollah deputy secretary general, said Hezbollah had not decided to wage a comprehensive military conflict with Israel. He said, “Israel is trying to achieve small and limited achievements of a few meters here and there, to establish its occupation or create the image of a presence on the ground with its military maneuvers, but none of that leads to a direct war and it does not mean Israel is preparing for war. Hezbollah also makes preparations, conducts military exercises, collects information and continues training…That is the situation, but Hezbollah has not decided to enter into a comprehensive military conflict with the Israeli enemy, and there does not currently seem to be an atmosphere of war on either side. Therefore, all that is necessary is to send the Israeli government a warning…Given the recently-repeated threats issued by the enemy’s leadership in the media, and even if we know their threats are unrealistic and impractical, we need to remind the enemy and its army that we are prepared, so its calculations should be accurate” (Mehr News Agency, August 13, 2023).
Revealing a dual-cannon anti-tank missile system
  • On August 11, 2023, Hezbollah revealed a dual-cannon anti-tank missile launch system called Tha’r Allah (“Allah’s revenge”), apparently based on an improved Iranian imitation called Dehlavine of a Russian-made Kornet missile.[1] The system allows the almost simultaneous, day or night launch of two anti-tank missiles (with a gap of less than a second between firings) and is very easy to transport and maneuver. Hezbollah issued a video showing many launches of two anti-tank missiles in less than a second, one after the other, mostly during the day, but also at night (al-Manar, August 11, 2023). In ITIC assessment, the system is intended to increase the chances of hitting IDF armored vehicles, especially  Merkava Mark 4 Windbreaker tanks, and may also be used to hit IDF vehicles and positions.
"Allah's revenge" (al-Manar, August 11, 2023)    "Allah's revenge" (al-Manar, August 11, 2023)
“Allah’s revenge” (al-Manar, August 11, 2023)
Launching one of the two anti-tank (al-Manar, August 11, 2023)
Launching one of the two anti-tank (al-Manar, August 11, 2023)
The overturned truck carrying weapons for Hezbollah
  • After a Hezbollah weapons truck overturned in al-Kahala, a Christian town southeast of Beirut, on August 9, 2023,[2] according to reports, the Lebanese army removed the truck and was investigating the incident. The contents of the truck are now at a Lebanese army base and are being examined. Local residents issued a statement saying that when the incident occurred, armed Hezbollah operatives accompanying the truck shot at local residents, killing a young man, after which residents closed the entrances to the town. After the Lebanese army removed the truck the entrances to the town were reopened (al-Nashra, August 9-10, 2023). According to some reports, the weapons were en route to the Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp (Twitter account @TonyBouloss, August 14, 2023).
Extending the UNIFIL mandate
  • The French representative in the Security Council finished composing a new draft proposal for extending the UNIFIL mandate in Lebanon, and submitted it to the other permanent Security Council members. According to the report, the draft did not include the amendments requested by Lebanon, in particular the ones dealing with UNIFIL’s freedom of movement and providing the Lebanese army with advance notice of the force’s movements. Diplomatic sources stated that “Lebanon trusts Russia and China to intervene to amend the draft,” and “the French role tended to be negative because it ignored Lebanon’s demands” (al-Akhbar, August 10, 2023).
  • On August 14, 2023, “diplomatic sources” reported that there were difficulties in extending the UNIFIL mandate because Lebanon wanted to amend the freedom of movement clause, which was included last year. The sources said that the various countries involved in the talks did not show “enthusiasm” for Lebanon’s request, adding that the events that had taken place in the past year, including the harassment of UNIFIL soldiers and especially the murder of the Irish officer, caused Lebanon’s request to be rejected. The sources called the Hezbollah arms truck which overturned in al-Kahala last week “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” and clearly exposed Lebanon’s weakness in preventing the transfer of illegal weapons and the flagrant violation of the Security Council resolution prohibiting the transfer of such weapons in Lebanon.” The sources ruled out the possibility that the contacts and consultations expected towards the end of the month would change the current diplomatic atmosphere (al-Liwaa, August 14, 2023).
  • As part of the talks for renewing UNIFIL’s mandate, a Lebanese delegation headed by Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Abu Habib is expected to visit UN headquarters in New York at the end of August. According to reports, the Lebanese government wants to change the clause regarding the freedom of action which was accorded to UNIFIL last year, and to condition it on prior coordination with the Lebanese army.
  • On August 16, 2023, representatives of UNIFIL, Israel and Lebanon met in Ras al-Naqoura to discuss the Blue Line and recent events along the border. UNIFIL Commander Aroldo Lázaro called on Israel and Lebanon to continue liaising and coordinating through UNIFIL’s mechanisms and not take unilateral action. He also called on them to be involved in the discourse on the Blue Line and to address the existing issues in preparation for the Security Council’s deliberations for renewing UNIFIL’s mandate (UNIFIL website, 16 August 2023).
Message from the Foreign Minister of Iran
  • On August 13, 2023, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein-Amir Abdollahian sent a communiqué to Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah stating that “Iran will spare no effort to help the resistance axis until the complete removal of the occupation and the destruction of Zionism.” The message was sent to mark the anniversary to the Second Lebanon War (Iran Press, August 13, 2023).
Hassan Nasrallah and Ziyad al-Nakhalah hold a meeting
  • On August 13, 2023, Hassan Nasrallah met in Beirut with Ziyad al-Nakhalah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) secretary general, and Mahmoud al-Hindi, a member of the PIJ leadership. They discussed “the latest developments in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, and assessed recent events, threats and the opportunities open to the resistance axis in the current circumstances” (al-Manar and al-Nur Radio, August 13, 2023).
Nasrallah meets with an Iranian delegation
  • On August 12, 2023, Hassan Nasrallah met with a delegation from the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee of the Iranian Shura Council. They discussed the situation in Lebanon, the Palestinian issue and regional affairs (Radio al-Nur, August 12, 2023).
Nasrallah meets with the Iranian delegation (Radio al-Nur, August 12, 2023)
Nasrallah meets with the Iranian delegation (Radio al-Nur, August 12, 2023)
Imposing sanctions on Green Without Borders
  • On August 16, 2023, the United States Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Green Without Borders, an organization which operates on behalf of Hezbollah in south Lebanon,[3] and on its leader, Zuheir Sabhi al-Nakhalah. According to the Treasury Department, Green Without Borders is a Lebanon-based organization which has provided support and cover for Hezbollah’s operations along the Blue Line for the past decade, conducting public activities under the guise of environmental activism. Hezbollah established dozens of positions along the border under cover of the organization, preventing UNIFIL from carrying out its mission of supervising events along the Blue Line, violating Security Council Resolution 1701. Brian E. Nelson, Treasury Department Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, noted that the United States rejected “Hezbollah’s cynical efforts to cloak its destabilizing terrorist activities with false environmentalism.” He added that the United States would continue to support the many Lebanese civil groups which protect Lebanon’s unique and sensitive natural environment while relentlessly pursuing Hezbollah and its support networks (United States Treasury Department website, August 16, 2023).
Internal Lebanese Affairs
The presidential crisis
  • In another attempt to resolve the presidential crisis in Lebanon, talks were held between Hezbollah and the Free National Movement in Lebanon[4] to promote former Minister Naji al-Boustano, a Hezbollah-affiliated lawyer, instead of Suleiman Frangieh, who is affiliated with Hezbollah and the Syrian regime, whose candidacy is less relevant now in light of objections to his appointment (naharnet.com, August 11, 2023).
Attempted assassination of the Minister of Defense
  • An attempt was made to assassinate Lebanese Minister of Defense Maurice Salim in the Jisr al-Basha region of Mount Lebanon on August 10, 2023. According to reports, shots were fired at his vehicle but he was unharmed (Reuters, August 10, 2023). The Lebanese ministry of defense announced that it had not been determined that it was an assassination attempt (al-Mayadeen, August 10, 2023).
Bullet holes in the defense minister's vehicle (Lebanon24, August 10, 2023)    Bullet holes in the defense minister's vehicle (Lebanon24, August 10, 2023)
Bullet holes in the defense minister’s vehicle (Lebanon24, August 10, 2023)
Imposing sanctions on the former Central Bank governor and his associates
  • On August 10, 2023, the United States Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Riad Salameh, former governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, his aides and his family members. The British and Canadian governments also sanctioned him, in coordination with the United States (United States Treasury Department website, August 10, 2023). Salameh is accused of corruption and illegal actions contributing to the collapse of Lebanon’s economy and rule of law.
The beginning of drilling in the Qana natural gas reservoir
  • On August 16, 2023, Ali Hamia, Lebanese minister of transportation and public works, announced that the drilling rig had arrived at the Qana natural gas reservoir near Lebanon’s maritime border with Israel and was expected to be activated before the end of August 2023 (al-Mayadeen, August 16, 2023).[5] According to experts, results will be evaluated within two to three months to allow time to decide when development of the reservoir will begin.
  • Meanwhile, it was reported that American mediator Amos Hochstein was scheduled to arrive in Beirut towards the end of August 2023. According to Western sources, he is also expected to discuss the delineation of the Israel-Lebanon land border (Lebanon24, August 8, 2023).
  • The arrival of the drilling rig Transocean Barents at offshore Block 9 in the Qana field was covered by the Lebanese and international media. Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayyad told the Hezbollah-affiliated al-Mayadeen network that its arrival was another step along a long path that began in 2010. He said the rig had reached the designated drilling point and would start operations within ten days, at most, and would continue drill for 80 days to reach the required depth. He added that there was international interest in the search and production [of gas] in Lebanon, and the balance of power forced a commitment from the international community.
  • Earlier, Minister Ali Hamia said the arrival of the rig had been accomplished through the efforts made by the Lebanese government with the relevant companies. He added that they had established a logistical base for TotalEnergies to transfer equipment to the exploration rig and facilitated the licensing procedures (al-Mayadeen, August 16, 2023).
  • For the rig’s arrival in Lebanon, Hezbollah launched a social media campaign calling on its supporters to distribute videos and posters attributing the “achievement” to the organization’s activities. Hezbollah claimed the gas exploration had been made possible by Hezbollah’s launching UAVs over the Karish Field last year and by its threats to respond to Israeli aggression, not thanks to “useless talks” (Multaqa al-Alam al-Muqawim, August 16, 2023).
Lebanon’s electricity grid collapses
  • On August 16, 2023, Lebanon’s electric company announced that its two power plants had stopped operating completely because of economic reasons, resulting in many power outages throughout the country. Until now, the two plants had provided electricity for four hours a day, two in the morning and two in the evening. During the day most of Lebanon’s population receives electricity from private generators (Sky News in Arabic, August 16, 2023).
  • On August 16, 2023, it was reported that Beirut’s international airport transitioned to generator-based power after the country’s power plants stopped providing electricity (Israeli Kan 11 TV channel, August 16, 2023).
Lebanon’s state TV channel closed
  • On August 11, 2023, Ziad Makary, Lebanese minister of communications, closed the government television channel, citing financial problems and the inability to pay employees’ salaries, and ending broadcasts (Ra’i al-Youm, August 11, 2023).
Syria
Explosion in Hezbollah missile warehouse
  • On the night of August 12, 2023, there was an explosion west of Damascus. According to reports, it occurred in Hezbollah’s missile warehouses. Eyewitnesses said they had heard more than six very loud explosions, one after another. The noise was so loud that it woke the sleeping residents of Damascus. The Syrian regime did not relate to the incident. According to some reports, the missile warehouses were completely destroyed “in an Israeli action” along with hundreds of missiles ready for delivery to Hezbollah warehouses in Lebanon. According to other reports, the explosions came “from below,” from a technical malfunction on site. Rami Abd al-Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, called it an attack on warehouses in a mountainous area west of Damascus, where Hezbollah and the Iranian militias store missiles before transferring them to Lebanese territory through a Syria-Lebanon border crossing. He said weapons were not delivered at the same time, but in a chain of deliveries using trucks for the transport of merchandise, like the truck that overturned in al-Kahala the previous week. He said the explosion occurred on the ground and was not the result of an aerial attack (al-Hadath, August 13, 2023).
  • Interviewed by al-Hadath TV, Abd al-Hamid Tawfiq, a Syrian journalist and commentator reporting from Damascus, said the lack of a clear explanation from the officials [of the Syrian regime] increased the credibility of what others were saying. Unlike past events, this time no official announcement from the Syrian defense ministry was forthcoming. He said that on early Sunday morning more than six very loud, strong explosions were heard, waking sleeping residents, and reports had been issued about their anxiety. Asked about the area where the explosions occurred, he said it was an area of intense Syrian army military activity, including aiming missiles at Israel (al-Hadath, August 13, 2023).
Hezbollah trains militia operatives in the use of UAVs
  • On August 11, 2023, specialists from Hezbollah-Lebanon arrived at the military airport in Deir ez-Zor to begin training Iran-sponsored militia operatives in the operation of Ababil and Qasef UAVs. The specialists were from Hezbollah Unit 127 and trained the operatives in a hangar at the airport. No Syrian operatives participated in the training. According to reports, it was the second time in 2023 that the Hezbollah-Lebanon had conducted such training for Iran-sponsored militia operatives in Deir ez-Zor (Deir ez-Zor 24, August 13, 2023).
  • The Ababil-3 has relatively high capabilities and can carry guided missiles and night vision equipment for transmitting images to ground stations. It has a range of about 250 kilometers (or about 155 miles), its maximum speed is 200 kilometers per hour (about 124 miles per hour) and its cruising altitude is about 5 kilometers (3 miles). The Qasef-1 has a range of about 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) and can carry a 30-kilogram (66 pound) warhead (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, July 17, 2022; Fars, August 11, 2019).
 Ababil-3 and Qasef-1 UAVs (Wikipedia; al-Haqiqa, March 12, 2017)    Ababil-3 and Qasef-1 UAVs (Wikipedia; al-Haqiqa, March 12, 2017)
Ababil-3 and Qasef-1 UAVs (Wikipedia; al-Haqiqa, March 12, 2017)
Organizations working against Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards
  • On August 10, 2023, Syrian sources reported that on the night of August 9, 2023, a new organization calling itself the Euphrates Volcano Battalions, whose identity is unclear and which operates in the north and east of Syria, attacked an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps convoy in the village of al-Baghiliyyah, north of Deir ez-Zor. One of the commanders of the force, known as Abu Fatima al-Iraqi, was killed (al-Araby al-Jadeed, August 10, 2023).
  • On August 10, 2023, Syrian sources reported that on the night of August 8, 2023, a new organization calling itself the Rebel Group on the Land of Deir ez-Zor whose identity is unclear and operates in the north and east of Syria, attacked a Hezbollah convoy in the village of Ayash, northwest of Deir ez-Zor. The organization announced that three Hezbollah-Lebanon operatives had been killed in the incident (al-Araby al-Jadeed, August 10, 2023).

[1] The Kornet is an advanced Russian anti-tank system which rides on a laser beam. Iran supplied it to Hezbollah, which skillfully used Kornet missiles to attack IDF soldiers during the Second Lebanon War (2006). After the war (around 2009) Iran and probably also Hezbollah provided such missiles to the terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip (Wikipedia).
[2] For further information see the ITIC August 10, 2023 report, "Spotlight on Terrorism – Hezbollah, Lebanon and Syria."
[3] For further information, see the ITIC February 19, 2020 report, "Green Without Borders: a Lebanese environmental organization that collaborates with Hezbollah and supports its activity near the Israeli border."
[4] Headed by Gebran Bassil, the son-in-law of Michel Aoun, the former Lebanese president of Lebanon and the movement's founder.
[5] The ship belongs to Transocean Ltd., and will drill for TotalEnergies in Block 9 of the Qana reservoir.