Israel's Army Chief: Hezbollah Struggling With 'Financial and Morale Crisis'

Fighting along Assad's army in Syria is taking its toll on the Lebanese militia, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot tells lawmakers.

Hezbollah fighters parade during a ceremony to honor fallen comrades, in Tefahta village, south Lebanon, February 18, 2017
Mohammad Zaatari/AP

Israel's military chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot told lawmakers on Wednesday that Hezbollah is faced with a financial and morale crisis due to the fighting in Syria.

Speaking before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Eisenkot said that he expects the fighting over control of the Syrian Golan Heights – the area on the Israeli border – to renew in the next few months.

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Eisenkot said that although Hezbollah members are gaining operational experience while fighting along Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, it has also brought it to a "financial and morale crisis."

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, February 22, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

Eisenkot in the past said Hebzollah uses about a third of its fighters in Syria, where some 1,700 of its members were killed and 7,000 have been wounded. "Few wish to pay a price in blood," he said, "not the Syrian army, not Hezbollah, not the Iranian militias and not the Russian forces."

Eisenkot gave the lawmakers his security assessment of the region, noting that at the top of Israel Defense Forces' agenda for 2017 is preparedness for a possible conflict in the Gaza Strip. The election of Yahya Sanwar as the new leader of the organization in Gaza, he said, shows there was no longer a distinct separation between Hamas' military and political wing 

Foreign reports said early Wednesday that Israel carried out and overnight strike in Syria, possibly targeting a weapons convoy. The Lebanese army denied that reports and the Syrian government has yet to publish its response.

Confirming the strike, Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told the German news agency DPA that Israeli warplanes fired at least six rockets on depots in the area of Qutaifa, north-east of Damascus.

The Israeli army said that the military does not respond to foreign reports.