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Syrian Special Forces in Lebanon?

syrian_forces.jpgSeptember 7, 2008
by W. Thomas Smith Jr.
Kuwait's Alseyassah newspaper is reporting: "Syrian Special Forces are entering Lebanese Alawite villages."

According to the report - which we have yet to independently confirm - "hundreds" of Syrian commandos, preceded by "dozens" of Syrian intelligence operatives, have crossed into northern Lebanon near the Lebanese village of Hekr el Dahr a few kilometers from the Mediterranean coast.

The incursions reportedly have been taking place since Wednesday-Thursday of last week. Syrian helicopters have been observed operating on the Syrian side of the border, and tanks and artillery pieces have been spotted and reported.

"The objective of the Syrian soldiers would be to reach an Alawite sector in Tripoli, Baal Mhesen, under the guise of protecting the Alawites [a Syrian-rooted Islamic offshoot - neither Shiia nor Sunni - but whom are allied with Hezbollah] who have been fighting Sunnis in the north for months," say our sources.

The border crossings, if the published report proves accurate, "would be the largest Syrian incursion into Lebanon since Syria withdrew its forces in 2005," say sources.

We also spoke by phone with Tom Harb, secretary general of The International Lebanese Committee for United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, who says: "If this is true, it is a complete violation of UNSCR 1559, and the UN must send a team to investigate and demand all Syrian forces withdraw immediately."

The Alseyassah report follows a story yesterday published by the Reform Party of Syria that said, "a secret delegation" of Iran's Quds (Jerusalem) force arrived in Beirut last week for meetings with senior leaders of Hezbollah. The Quds force is the extranational special-operations arm of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Quds commandos are Iran's most committed fighters, trained to conduct terrorist operations worldwide.

Our sources have confirmed that both Iranian Quds fighters and Syrian intelligence agents were in Lebanon, operating with Hezbollah forces during the fighting in May.

Additional information will follow.

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