A military commander of Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah was killed in fighting near Damascus and has been buried in his southern Lebanese hometown of Kfar Sir in the Nabatiyeh area, residents said Monday.
“Hezbollah military commander Hossam Ali Nisr, aged 33, was buried on Saturday. He was defending Sayyida Zeinab,” which houses a Shiite shrine southeast of Damascus, “when his group was attacked and he was killed,” one resident told AFP, without giving a date.
According to Free Lebanon Radio Nisr was killed with several other Hezbollah fighters but their funeral was delayed till after the Eid el Fitr ( end of Ramadan feast) .
Nisr’s role was not identified but he is reportedly considered the supreme commander of Hezbollah forces in Syria, according to some reports.
The death of Nisr is just one of the latest in a series of setbacks for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Last weekend, rebels in Syria claimed that they had killed at least 42 Hezbollah fighers, who were fighting with soldiers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. The deaths were reported by Al-Arabiya, which quoted a rebel leader as saying that the operation was a “high quality one.”
The report of Nisr’s killing comes after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said he was ready to go to Syria to fight extremists he accused of staging a deadly car bomb attack last Thursday in the southern suburbs of Beirut, a bastion of his movement.
“I will go myself to Syria if it is so necessary in the battle against the takfiris [radical Sunni Muslims], Hezbollah and I will go to Syria” to fight rebels trying to oust the Damascus regime, Nasrallah said in an angry reaction to the car bombing.
According to a final count, 27 people were killed in the attack.
Hezbollah is a key Damascus backer and has sent fighters into Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad in his regime’s bid to crush a 29-month rebellion.
Fighters of Hezbollah played a key role in the government’s recapture in June of the rebel bastion of Qusayr, near the Lebanese border.
Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba said Syria is now being run by regime allies Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, with President Bashar al-Assad out of the picture, in an interview published Sunday.
Assad “no longer runs Syria. The real rulers of Syria are the Iranian (elite) Revolutionary Guard… with the participation of (Lebanese Shiite) Hezbollah fighters,” Jarba said.
Assad is “a killer and a criminal, and… he has collapsed,” the National Coalition chief charged.
Jarba also told Al-Hayat newspaper that Syrian rebels have seized control of “at least half” of the country, 29 months into an anti-Assad uprising.