A Sept. 25 article in the Lebanese daily Al-Modon, which is known to oppose Hezbollah, surveys the deployment of Hezbollah forces on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon.

The article, by Ahmad Al-Shami, indicates that Hezbollah controls large areas of the western Rif Dimashq Governorate, including a strip along the border, 3 kilometers to 5 kilometers long, and has cemented its presence in this area by establishing military bases, strategically placed outposts, training camps and underground warehouses.

The article states further that more than 1,500 Hezbollah operatives are deployed at 100-plus military outposts in Rif Dimashq, and that one of these positions houses Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) forces as well and serves as an Iranian headquarters.

According to the article, Hezbollah also derives economic benefit from its presence in this area by smuggling people, vehicles and goods across the border, and also by helping people to obtain a visa for Lebanon for a fee. It adds that one of the organization’s goals in controlling this area, which includes many Shi’ite villages, is to provide itself with a location for storing its weapons, should it become impossible to continue maintaining them in Lebanon.

The following are excerpts from the article:[1]

“Although it expelled the [Syrian] opposition forces from western Rif Dimashq [Governorate] a year-and-a-half ago, after a years-long siege, the Lebanese Hezbollah militia remains in isolated military outposts and many security compounds in a number of cities in western Ghouta, while the area controlled by the [Hezbollah] militia along the Syria-Lebanon border is 3km-5km long.

“According to an opposition military source, over 1,500 Hezbollah operatives are deployed in over 100 of the organization’s military outposts in western Rif Dimashq [Governorate], and air force intelligence is the only Syrian military element that shares control of this area with them. The source added that all the Hezbollah commanders and operatives in the region are direct subordinates of the Hezbollah security apparatus—Branch 910, which has broad authority and jurisdiction for decision-making in the region.

“The source also noted that most of Hezbollah’s force in the region is at the outposts erected on Syrian soil along the Lebanese border, which are considered Border Guards outposts—from the outpost at the Masna’a [Border Crossing] to the edge of the administrative jurisdiction of the region at the Rankous plains. The outposts are spaced a kilometer apart.”

Read full report at MEMRI.