Hezbollah is recruiting 15,000 militants to fight anti-government rebels in Syria, according to the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan. The forces are wanted for Kalamoun, a region near the Syrian-Lebanese border, where thousands of the rebels are located.
Sources near Hezbollah told the paper that the Lebanese militia plans to attack the rebels’ main supply lines.
The sources said a booby-trapped vehicle discovered in the Hezbollah stronghold of Dahiya, a Shi’ite suburb south of Beirut, was the handiwork of Al-Qaida-affiliated militias operating in the Kalamoun region.
The Free Syrian Army, a Western-backed alliance of anti-government rebels, warned Hezbollah that it would pay a heavy price if it went ahead with its campaign, since the rebels in the Kalamoun region number in the thousands and hold major strategic ground, Arabic media reported.
Reports said residents of cities and villages in the border area are preparing for serious fighting and have expressed concern that the violence will quickly seep into Lebanon.
For the past several months, Hezbollah has been carrying out surgical strikes against anti-government forces deep in Syrian territory, especially militia forces belonging to the Nusra Front and other groups linked to Al-Qaida.
Fighting in Syria between the government forces and the rebels is expected to intensify in the coming days, as both sides attempt to make as many gains as possible before the so-called Geneva II peace talks, according to Arabic-language reports.
The Arab League has announced the peace conference will be held in Geneva on November 23-24.