Reports Monday, Feb. 18, that Hizballah has transferred 1,000 fighters to the Syrian district of Homs are a red herring to distract attention from six new major developments in the Syrian civil conflict – revealed here by DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources:
1. Contrary to reports of Hizballah attacks on villages in the Homs region, the thousand Hizballah militiamen have moved in to defend the predominantly Shiite villages of the area whose population is loyal to Bashar Assad. They are there to relieve the Syrian army of the burden of defending these Shiites against rebel attack.
Hizballah has also undertaken to guard Shiite holy shrines in Syria.
2. The Muslim factions of the Syrian revolt have received their first heavy weapons consignments, mostly Kornet and Fagot anti-tank missiles. Their improved armaments account for the new edge they display in battles with Bashar Assad’s army, although reports of their conquests are much exaggerated.