Hezbollah has begun building additional bases and rocket arsenals in Syria, US intelligence agency Stratfor revealed Wednesday, further entrenching itself in the conflict close to the Syrian town of Qusair.
Based on reports from diplomatic sources and informants close to Hezbollah, the new base provides significant and strategic protection from Syrian rebels and is part of Hezbollah's overarching strategy in Syria.
"Alongside the base, Hezbollah has focused on securing the Lebanese border, building up a large earthen berm on the stretch of the border near Qusair," Stratfor stated in its report. "The group has also cleared the area around the base to enable it to better observe and defend the area along the Syrian side of the border."
"Moreover, sources report that Hezbollah has dug tunnels from the base back to Lebanon."
Hezbollah intends to use the base as an artillery arsenal, Stratfor adds, including "Katyusha rockets, mortars and howitzers," as well as "60 T-72 main battle tanks." Four munitions bases are also being built at the compound.
While Hezbollah has been strengthening its presence in Syria since 2013, sources believe this base is intended to establish a permanent presence in Syria – housing 3,000 terrorists, even in the event of a rebel victory.
The base serves Iranian interests in Syria as well; Iranian diplomatic sources confirmed that officials inspect the base on a regular basis, and three types of Iranian missiles – Shabab-1, Shahab-2 and Fateh-110 – are suspected to be housed on the compound.
Analysts believe the stockpile is intended to strike Israel.