Hezbollah denied Thursday the heavy losses reported by the media about the group in the Syrian border region of Qalamoun near Lebanon’s frontier.
“The armed groups’ claims about the death and capture of resistance fighters in Qalamoun are totally baseless,” a Hezbollah military commander told the pro Hezbollah al-Mayadeen television.
“It is an attempt to cover up for their setbacks,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Sky News Arabia had quoted Syrian opposition sources as saying that “twenty-seven Hezbollah fighters were killed and 14 others were captured in Qalamoun.”
For its part, the pro-opposition Orient News TV said “rebels launched a fierce attack on the posts of Hezbollah and the regime forces in the countryside of Western Qalamoun at dawn Thursday, during which they managed to liberate the al-Safa checkpoint and inflict heavy casualties on Hezbollah and the regime forces.”
Al-Safa checkpoint separates between Rankous’ western outskirts and the peripheries of the Barada Valley, according to Orient News.
“The rebels also seized control of a 57mm howitzer, two tanks, two cars, heavy- and medium-caliber weapons and a quantity of ammunition,” the TV network added.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the clashes, saying they started when Islamist rebels and jihadists from the Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front seized control of the al-Safa checkpoint and captured armored vehicles and ammunition belonging to the regime forces and Hezbollah.
“There are confirmed reports of casualties on both sides amid airstrikes on the area of the clashes,” the Observatory said.
It later reported the death of four Islamist rebels and jihadists in the fighting, including the “al-Nusra emir of the Sirghaya region” and “the commander of a rebel brigade.”
Hezbollah ‘s intervention in the Syrian conflict alongside regime forces has helped Damascus achieve several military victories and allowed the party to clear most of the Lebanese-Syrian border region from rebels and jihadists.
Experts say Hezbollah has lost about 1500 fighters in the conflict, including senior commanders.