Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shi’ite terrorist organization, has rejected Russian demands to withdraw its forces from the Lebanese-Syrian border, a prominent Syrian-rights group indicated Thursday.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Hezbollah is still in the al-Qusayr area southwest of Homs and the Jusiyyeh crossing area on the border.
Russia reportedly demanded that Hezbollah pull out of Syria following an alleged Israeli airstrike on May 25 that was said to have targeted Hezbollah munitions depots at the al-Qusayr air base. The area is a known Hezbollah stronghold, also housing other Iran-backed militias.
In a dramatic diplomatic development on May 28, it was revealed that Israel and Russia had reached understandings whereby only Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army—not Iran or its Shi’ite proxy militias, including Hezbollah—will take up positions near the border with Israel.
Under the agreement, an Israeli official said, not only will Russia enforce its commitment to keep Iran’s militias and Hezbollah forces from the border, it will publicly call on all foreign forces to leave Syrian soil, among them the United States and Turkey.
The Observatory reported no clashes between Hezbollah and Russian forces, but said the Russians were adamant about the terrorist group’s withdrawal from its positions along the border.
Meanwhile, sources linked to Syrian rebel factions told The Wall Street Journal earlier this week that Hezbollah terrorists and other Iran-backed militants were fighting alongside Syrian soldiers near the Israeli border disguised in Syrian army uniforms.