Syria’s allies are stretched by widening war

The Wall Street Journal reports: The Lebanese movement Hezbollah, facing a heavy strain on its resources, is recruiting more fighters in Syria and bringing in fresh but inexperienced forces from Lebanon to shore up Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

In the past year, Hezbollah’s battle-tested fighters helped Syrian forces retake territory around the capital Damascus and other key cities such as Homs and Aleppo, paving the way for Mr. Assad to win a third, seven-year term as president in elections last month.

But Hezbollah members and people involved in the group’s operations in Syria said the militant group is now stretched thin by two conflicts involving its Shiite allies that threaten to erode, if not undo, its successes in Syria.

A Sunni rebellion against the Shiite-dominated government in neighboring Iraq is drawing home Iraqi Shiites who have been fighting alongside Hezbollah in Syria, according to pro-government militiamen in Syria.

On Monday, Islamic State, the extremist group leading the fresh insurgency in Iraq, captured more territory in Syria by routing rival rebel factions from the city of Deir-Ezzour, according to Syrian activists and a spokesman for the rebel umbrella group known as the Free Syrian Army. The city is the seat of the resource-rich province of Deir-Ezzour bordering Iraq and the conquest gave Islamic State control of nearly 80% of the province. [Continue reading…]

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