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Iran intervenes in Syria: Hizbullah launches first combat rocket salvo

Special to WorldTribune.com

LONDON — The Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah has begun its first combat
operations in Syria, the opposition said.

Opposition sources said Hizbullah fighters launched Russian-origin BM-21
Grad rockets toward civilian protesters on Jan. 16. The sources said the
Hizbullah rocket attack took place near Damascus amid Iranian threats to
increase intervention in Syria.

Syrians hold-up their national flag and that of Hizbullah during a demonstration in support of President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Aug. 23. /AFP/Joseph Eid

“The attack was coordinated with the forces of President Bashar Assad,” the Syrian Revolutionary Coordination Union said.

Other opposition sources also reported Hizbullah rocket fire. No
injuries, however, were reported, and later other sources said mortars, rather than rockets, were launched during a military operation.

Hizbullah is said to have a presence of about 2,000 fighters in Syria. The opposition said Assad was using Hizbullah personnel for raids of suspected dissidents and sniper missions.

The reports came as Iran warned of expanding its intervention in Syria to quell the revolt against Assad. An unnamed Iranian source said Teheran would use the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to help the Damascus regime.

“We have not yet interfered,” the source told the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel on Jan. 16.

Israel and the United States reported a significant increase in Iranian
aid to the Assad regime. Officials said commanders of IRGC’s Quds Force
spent several days in Syria in January amid intensified fighting
between security forces and rebels.

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