Kuwait's al-Rai daily says Lebanon-based group, Syrian army have created a joint military command, dividing potential war fronts.
By Jack Khoury and The Associated Press
The Lebanon-based Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah and the Syrian army have initiated a significant military cooperation in joint preparation for the possibility of a future armed conflict with Israel, the Kuwaiti daily al-Rai reported on Monday.
The report came as Syrian president Bashar Assad urged Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri earlier Monday to support Hezbollah and maintain calm in the divided country.
Speaking with al-Rai Monday, sources have indicated that Hezbollah and Syria have formed a joint headquarters meant to orchestrate the cooperation between the two forces, which is to be commanded by two officers – one from the Syrian military and one from Hezbollah.
Recent exchanges between the two organizations reportedly included trading information regarding strategic sites within Israel, including airports and other facilities, as well as dividing up the prospective war fronts between themselves.
The two organizations also reportedly shared information gather by Hezbollah following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, including military conclusions and tactics.
Earlier Monday, Syria's Assad urged Lebanon's leader to support Hezbollah and maintain calm in the country.
The two leaders met in Damascus for a pre-dawn meal called suhour, the last meal before the daytime fast resumes for the holy month of Ramadan, the Syrian state-run news agency reported.
Hariri has visited Damascus repeatedly this year in a sign of Syria's renewed influence over Lebanon in the years since Damascus withdrew its military in 2005, ending a nearly three-decade hold on Lebanon. Hariri's visits indicate that he needs Syrian support as his Western-backed coalition struggles at home.
Syria backs the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which has a large role in Lebanon's fragile national unity government.
Last week, street battles in Beirut between the Shiite militant Hezbollah and a small Sunni group killed three people, exacerbating sectarian tensions in Lebanon. Later Monday, Hariri was expected to head the first meeting of a new committee formed to discuss ways of ridding the Lebanese capital of weapons.
"Enemies are endeavoring to damage Lebanon's solidarity and unity, but Lebanese' resistance groups will thwart their plots and conspiracies with their tact and promotion of solidarity," the Iranian president added.