Another Terrorist Group Is Fighting With US Weapons In Syria

REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The terrorist wing of Hezbollah is fighting with U.S. weapons in Syria on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad, according to an anonymous Israel Defense Forces officer.

The U.S. supplied M113 armored personnel carriers (APCs) to the Lebanese army, which then allegedly handed them off to Hezbollah as part of a deal with the terrorist group.

Israel supplied the Obama administration with photo evidence of the APCs being used by Hezbollah in Syria during a briefing, the officer told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, speaking on the condition of anonymity. U.S. Department of State officials said in November its embassy in Lebanon was investigating allegations regarding Hezbollah’s use of U.S. military aid.

“We shared this information with other countries, including the U.S. of course, and I can even say that we recognized these specific APCs with some specific parameters that we know … these were given to the Lebanese armed forces. It’s not an assumption,” the officer told Reuters Wednesday.

The Israel Defense Forces officer noted the deal was a sign that Hezbollah has “strengthened its grip on the main national institutions in Lebanon,” including the army.

Significant amounts of U.S. military aid to Middle Eastern countries has wound up in the hands of terrorist organizations. The Islamic State seized large caches of U.S. weapons systems from the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) during its rise in 2014, including dozens of the well-known U.S. humvees.

While the circumstances surrounding Hezbollah’s acquisition of the APCs is unclear, the U.S.-Lebanese military aid relationship is well known. Lebanon is the fifth-highest recipient of U.S. military aid, which includes M113 APCs and M-60 tanks. The aid is supposed to be used to fight off Islamist terrorist organizations.

Hezbollah is a Shiite terrorist organization primarily based in Lebanon. The terrorist group is considered the Islamic Republic of Iran’s primary proxy group. Hezbollah is also involved in Lebanese politics, and maintains a presence in the country’s parliament.

Israel and Hezbollah are bitter enemies, having most recently fought a war in 2006.

The terrorist group began operating in Syria on behalf of Assad in 2013. Its presence bolstered Assad’s beleaguered army, allowing it to make a significant resurgence.

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