Hizballah flaunts tanks and missiles in Syria military parade
The Shia paramilitary celebrated the annual 'martyr's day' procession in al-Qusayr city, which Hizballah helped the regime recapture from rebels in 2013, marking the anniversary of a 1982 operation against Israeli headquarters in Lebanon's southern city of Tyre.
Hizballah's executive council head Hashem Safieddine reportedly gave a speech at the event, which marks the first such parade by the militant group on foreign ground.
"The purpose of the parade is to raise morale among Hizballah fighters after recent heavy losses suffered by the group," Amer al-Nasser, member of Islamist rebel group Legion of Homs, told The New Arab.
"The display was held in secret with the time and place undisclosed until after it had ended, which shows that the group feared being targeted during the parade," Nasser said.
Images circulated on social media accounts close to the group showing a display of Soviet-made T72 tanks and Russian-made anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft cannons, as well as machine guns and off-road motorbikes.
The city of al-Qusayr holds a symbolic value for Hizballah as it was the first captured from the Free Syrian Army following a fierce battle in the spring of 2013, marking a turning point for Syrian rebels in the province of Homs, once dubbed as the 'capital of the revolution'.
A Wall Street Journal reporter who visited the city later that year said: "Today, Hizballah independently runs Qusayr […] The Lebanese militia has established an operations base in the town's northern section that is off-limits to most Syrian civilians."
|The parade included a display of Soviet-made T72 tanks and Russian-made anti-tank missiles [Twitter]|
|Hizballah flaunted a sizeable convoy of heavy armour [Twitter]|