Syrian government forces, backed by members of Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group, advance from different directions in the mountain resort of Zabadani near the border with Lebanon. The fighting comes as Ahrar al-Sham insurgent group say that it has stopped communicating with Iranian mediators after they insisted that fighters and residents leave the resort. Ahrar al-Sham says the government aims to clear out the area’s Sunni Muslim population. Syrian opposition groups accuse the government and Hezbollah of displacing thousands of Sunnis from areas along the border with Lebanon and preventing them from returning to their homes.
Coalition warplanes target areas held by the Islamic State group near the town of Tabqa in the northern province of Raqqa, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered, a local activist group. The Observatory says the airstrikes killed at least five IS fighters and wounded 23, including teenage fighters of the so-called ‘Cubs of the Caliphate.’
Israel launches an airstrike after troops see “a group of armed terrorists” approach the border of the Golan Heights.with an explosive intended to target Israeli troops. It said that Israeli aircraft “targeted the squad, preventing the attack.” Iran’s state-run, English-language satellite news channel Press TV reports four people were killed. Hours before the border strike, Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon warned Syria and Iran against arming Hezbollah with such weapons.
We will not allow the transfer of quality weapons to terror groups led by Hezbollah and we know how to reach them and those that dispatch them at any time.
Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, the deputy head of Hezbollah’s executive council, says ignoring the threat of ISIS could allow the group to seize Lebanon:
The terrorist threat on Lebanon is actual, real and continuous. And whoever doubts or underestimates [this threat] is either ignorant or negligent, and he harms the high national interest of Lebanon … ISIS’s decision has been announced. Their pretended slogan is to create the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria, which includes Lebanon.
He proposes a “tripartite” force to protect the country consisting of the military, the public and the “resistance”:
Whoever denies Hezbollah’s role in protecting [Lebanon is] oblivious to the truth.
Nasrallah says Hezbollah is prepared to fight the growing ‘monster’ of ISIS that threatens Lebanon.
Here we live, and – if the battle is imposed on us – here we fight and here we will be martyred.
While ISIS is now facing stronger resistance in Iraq and Syria, moderate regimes across the region are at risk from the group:
Wherever there are followers of the ideology there is ground for (Islamic State), and this exists in Jordan, in Saudi Arabia, in Kuwait and the Gulf state … it appears that the capabilities, numbers and capacities available to (Islamic State) are vast and large. This is what is worrying everyone, and everyone should be worried.