Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah threatened to wage war on the U.S. in Syria if any of its own red lines were crossed, according to a television broadcast Wednesday.
Hezbollah is a terrorist group sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hezbollah is just one of many Iranian-backed entities fighting on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. The U.S. struck some of these pro-regime Iranian militias Tuesday for coming too close to U.S. troops inside Syria embedded with local militias relied upon to fight the Islamic State.
The warning highlights growing tensions on the crowded Syrian battlefield. The Pentagon announced Monday that the U.S. backed push on ISIS’s capital of Raqqa is officially on. The push involves hundreds of U.S. troops embedded with local forces on the ground, U.S. aircraft striking ISIS positions, and other western governments assisting the effort.
In the same general area Assad and his allies are reportedly attempting to move into areas cleared of ISIS and take the territory for themselves. This leeching strategy has repeatedly put the forces at odds with the coalition who will not allow pro-regime forces to come within a certain distance of U.S. service-members.
The Tuesday strike is the second time the U.S. has engaged pro-regime militias for coming too close. In both cases the U.S. military attempted to use a de-confliction hotline with Russia to wave off the coming forces before being forced to engage.
“What’s left of Islamic State territory is the key part of Iran’s plan to connect Iran to Lebanon,” senior Middle East analyst at IHS Firas Abi-Ali recently explained to Bloomberg. Hezbollah is an originally Lebanese terrorist organization whose past conflicts have generally involved Israel. A land connection between Iran and Lebanon is important to the Islamic republic in order to facilitate weapons transfers.
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