Pay Attention to the Battle over Al-Qusayr in Syria

Accumulating reports indicate expanding Hezbollah military activity inside Syria – specifically west of the Syrian city of Al-Qusayr.

The Syrian city of Al-Qusayr is located in a strategic position – eight miles east of the Syrian-Lebanese “border” (an actual border line was never marked on the ground) and ten miles west of the major Syrian city Homs and the Homs-Damascus highway. Al-Qusayr is the gateway to Lebanon – roads connect Al-Qusayr and the northern part of the Lebanese valley.

The area surrounding Al-Qusayr is mostly rural – made up of small to mid-size towns and villages.  Farms are scattered along the sides of the Orontes River that runs from the northern Lebanese Valley into Syria.

The population of these communities is mixed – mostly Shiite, but there are also some Christian communities as well as Sunnis – all are Syrian citizens, though reportedly some 30,000 are of Lebanese origin and hold Lebanese identity cards as well.

Over the past few weeks fierce fighting is taking place in the area of Al-Qusayr.  It seems as if the fight is centered in three locations – the western outskirts of Al-Qusayr, the town of Rableh, and the town of Jusiyah which is located next to Highway 4 that connects the southern part of Al-Qusayr with the Lebanese town of Qaa.

Reportedly, Hezbollah has failed to accomplish its military mission and has sustained dozens of casualties.

The battle over the area of Al-Qusayr is significant – as significant as the fierce battle over the Syrian city of Homs.  Al-Qusayr is the gateway through which Hezbollah sends reinforcements to Assad.  If the Free Syrian Army takes over the Homs-Al-Qusayr corridor it will be a serious blow to Assad and Hezbollah because it will create a buffer zone between Hezbollah and Assad’s forces and will isolate the Alawite region in the northwestern part of Syria from the center of the country.

On October 13 I reported that Hezbollah had launched a Rocket Attack on the Syrian City Al-Qusayr from the Lebanese territory.

My report was confirmed in a formal announcement made by a spokesperson of the Free Syrian Army on October 17.

In previous articles I have discussed the likelihood of the formation of an armed Sunni front that would present a serious challenge to Hezbollah.

The battle over Al-Qusayr and Hezbollah’s rocket attack on the city indicates that as far as Hezbollah is concerned that scenario is becoming more and more threatening…

Please read the related reports I have published:

Nasrallah is sending a message….but to whom?

Hezbollah Sunni Tension Rises

Is war in the Middle East inevitable?

About the Author
Avi Melamed is a Strategic Intelligence Analyst and an Expert on the Current Affairs in the Arab and Muslim World and their impact on the Middle East. He is the Founder and CEO of Inside the Middle East: Intelligence Perspectives (ITME), an empowering intelligence analysis praxis transforming students and practitioners into knowledgeable, media literate, critical thinkers. ITME’s goal is to ensure that the next generation of policy influencers will have be equipped with the knowledge, skills and tools to independently and accurately decipher the Middle East and accurately predict the direction of future events. He is a former Israeli Intelligence Official and Senior Official on Arab Affairs. In his public service, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence and Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities and communities throughout the region – often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. His newest book, Inside the Middle East: Making Sense of the Most Dangerous and Complicated Region on Earth, (also available as an audio book) – a GPS to help you navigate the dramatically changing Middle East, offers a unique insight into the Arab world, challenges widely-accepted perceptions, provides a guide to make sense of the events unfolding in the region, and offers an out of the box idea that could lead to a positive breakthrough in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides intelligence analysis, briefings and tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policy makers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs. An Israeli Jew, fluent in Arabic, English and Hebrew, with a unique understanding of Arab society and culture, Avi has his finger on the pulse on the Arab world. He has a proven record of foreseeing the evolution of events in the Middle East and their impact on a local and regional level. Through all of his efforts, as an analyst, educator, entrepreneur, and writer, he is a bridge builder, and dedicates himself to enhancing the Arabic, English and Hebrew speaking audience’s comprehensive understanding of the Middle East and of each other. @AviMelamed