Hezbollah already immediately denied that it is leaving Syria, where for months, the group has been wreaking havoc upon the rebel forces trying to ouster Syrian dictator Bashar Assad from power. Hezbollah’s involvement–at the tune of 10,000 soldiers– hasn’t come without its costs: A number of Hezbollah troops have been killed, fighting has spread over in Lebanon (which “hosts” Hezbollah) and the group’s Sunni allies and admirers (including Hamas) have criticized the group’s involvement in a war tens of thousands of Sunni Muslims have died. Nevertheless, a report by the British Times suggests that Hezbollah is pulling back.
Over the past few weeks, the Shiite terror group has faced heavy pressure from the Lebanese government, as well as from the rest of the Arab world, to withdraw its troops. Lebanese officials claimed that Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria was causing harm to Lebanon’s diplomatic ties with the surrounding Arab states, and prompting local sectarian violence.
Lebanon has been the scene of several attacks, perceived as retaliatory strikes for Hezbollah’s assistance to Assad.
The shift, if it’s true, could also be viewed in the tenor of “our work here is done,” after all, Hezbollah helped take back the strategic town of Qusair at the beginning of the summer and the group’s involvement, formally acknowledged in May, has helped turn a war that seemed to hang in the balance into a bout of momentum for the Assad regime. Back in January, it was reported that Hezbollah troops had helped train a 60,000-strong militia to help protect members of Assad’s Alawite communities across Syria.