Child soldiers sign of weakened Hizbollah

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 22, 2014
The destruction of Syria's civil war (Photo: AP)

The destruction of Syria's civil war (Photo: AP)

Reports that Hizbollah is sending ever-younger fighters to Syria - some as young as 16 - is a further indication that the Lebanese Shia organisation is becoming drastically stretched as it operates on four fronts.

Hizbollah continues to maintain an arsenal of around 60,000 rockets near Israel's northern border while it fights in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

The movement has also trained teams to operate advanced anti-tank missiles should Israel confront it on the ground once again.

However, since the Second Lebanon War eight years ago, Hizbollah has refrained from firing at Israel.

Over the past three years, Hizbollah, operating under the aegis of officers from Iran's overseas Quds Force, has been heavily involved in fighting alongside Assad regime troops in Syria.

Hundreds of fighters have been killed in Syria

Hundreds of fighters, including senior commanders, have been killed in the efforts to preserve the regime's control of the strategically significant border areas with Lebanon.

In recent months, Hizbollah has also sent personnel to Iraq, where the Iran-backed Shia government has been rapidly losing ground to Islamic State (IS).

While the Lebanese are in more of an "advisory" role in Iraq, the battlefield there is a further strain on its resources, especially as Iraqi-Shia units fighting in Syria have now been recalled.

In addition, the Syrian war has expanded into Lebanon. Last week, Hizbollah confronted IS and other Syrian Sunni groups around the town of Arsal.

According to Israeli intelligence, at least 400 experienced Hizbollah fighters have been killed so far in the Syrian fighting.

While the near future does not bode well for the movement, Israeli commanders have said that Hizbollah is also gaining combat experience that could benefit it in a future confrontation against Israel.

In addition, Hizbollah is continuously trying to smuggle missiles from Syria to Lebanon.

Last updated: 9:44am, August 22 2014