Images published on the internet of a Hezbollah parade in Qusair, Syria show dozens of US M113 armored personnel carriers armed with anti-aircraft guns, raising questions of how the terror organization acquired these US made weapons.
Hezbollah parade in Qusayr features multiple US-made M113 APCs with mounted ZPU-2 (left), most likely source: Lebanese Armed Forces (right). pic.twitter.com/FwOtlfGppw
— Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) November 13, 2016
Defense analyst Tobias Schneider’s theory is that the equipment was taken from American military aid sent to the Lebanese Armed Forces, who received over $200 million in US military aid in 2016, though the Lebanese military officially denied being the source.
An anonymous State Department official supported the Lebanese military’s denial in a statement to the Washington Post.
“The Lebanese military has publicly stated that the M113s depicted online were never part of their equipment roster,” the official said. “Our initial assessment concurs: The M113s allegedly in Hezbollah’s possession in Syria are unlikely to have come from the Lebanese military. We are working closely with our colleagues in the Pentagon and in the Intelligence Community on to resolve this issue.”
Another theory is that the US made APC’s made their way to Hezbollah via Israel. While the Christian Southern Lebanese Army (SLA) was allied with Israel. Israel supplied the SLA with more than 130 armored vehicles, including 20 M113’s. After Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 under Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the SLA collapsed.
This is not the first, or the worst, case of American military hardware ending up in the wrong hands. Last year, videos surfaced of Iraqi Hezbollah using US made M1 Abrams battle tanks,M113 armored personnel carriers, Humvees, and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP).
The United States designated the Hezbollah Brigades as a terrorist organization in July 2009. Hezbollah is an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who America opposes, choosing to support anti-Assad rebels in Syria.