Hezbollah is recruiting hundreds of civilians as spies in Southern Syria, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

A report by the MEMRI Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor and shared exclusively with JNS on Tuesday details claims in Syrian opposition website Naba that Lebanese-based Shi’ite terror group is cultivating narcotics in southern Syria near the Lebanese border.

Hezbollah is “preventing the return of civilians to their homes in order to expand its control over the region,” according to the report, and has established a youth organization there similar to its Al-Mahdi Scouts project in Lebanon.

“The Scout project is one of the most important projects of [Hezbollah] in Lebanon. It began after the Israeli army withdrew from the security zone in Lebanon back in 1985. The project prepares a new pool of recruits to participate in [Hezbollah’s] military operations, after undergoing combat and religious courses,” the report stated.

Hezbollah began the recruitment program in Syria in April 2019 “by holding scouting courses in southern Syria, which established teams trained to collect information and monitor the border with the occupied [Israeli] Golan Heights area.”

The teams also collected intelligence relating to Syrian opposition groups and foreign countries that are involved in military operations in southern Syria. There are 240 people that have graduated so far from these courses, the report claimed.

A number of Hezbollah commanders are supervising the project in southern Syria, it went on, and that the recruits are mostly civilians from villages and towns in the area.

One program teaches recruits how to pretend to be shepherds, merchants, farmers or street vendors. They are also taught how to use military topography systems to help them calculate distances and identify locations.

The report concluded by noting that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force is also involved in training these scouts.

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