Lebanon and Syria Caught in Israel-Hamas Web of Conflict
Already riddled with economic crisis and internal conflicts, Lebanon and Syria have found themselves sucked into the latest Israel-Hamas war. Villages near the Lebanon-Israel border are now nearly empty after the Hezbollah militants began exchanging fire with Israeli soldiers after Hamas’ attack on October 7.
Syria is also embroiled in the Israel-Hamas war as it’s being used as a launch pad by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The US military launched two airstrikes in eastern Syria, near Abu Kamal – a town. Lloyd Austin, the US defense secretary, described the airstrikes as self-defense strikes, with President Joe Biden saying the United States will not tolerate such attacks and will defend itself, its personnel, and its own interests.
Austin highlighted that the US forces did not coordinate the strikes with Israel. “The operation was separate and distinct from Israel’s war against Hamas.”
30,000 People Displaced in Lebanon
As Iran-backed Hezbollah militants and IDF fire across the border, around 30,000 people in Lebanon have been misplaced. The International Organization for Migration confirmed that 28,965 people have left their homes near the Israeli border. Majority are now living with relatives in safe areas, or renting houses through their own means.
Hassan Mortada, head of the Union of Tyre Municipalities said they are mostly farmers. “They came here without anything in their pockets. We try our best to provide their basic needs, such as food, beds, and covers as the weather is getting colder.”
Abdullah al-Grayeb, a Lebanese man from the border village of Zahajra – less than a kilometer from the Israeli border, said his village has been destroyed in the conflict. He claimed the IDF deployed white phosphorous in his village, resulting in property damage and civilian casualties. “Some of the houses turned to ashes, turned completely into ashes, nothing else at all. Some people experienced shortness of breath because of the phosphorous bombs that were used. A woman suffocated while trying to help her husband who was injured by the bomb in his leg.”
It should be noted that the Israeli military has denied using phosphorous and brushed it off as false.
Hezbollah Deploys Anti-Tank Missiles Against Israel
There are fears that Lebanon will become engulfed in a broader conflict. And it has. In fact Hezbollah dragged Lebanon into this. A day ago, Hezbollah launched anti-tank guided missiles at an Israeli military position near Avivim and Misgav Am area on the northern border. It also fired missiles and rockets on IDF positions and Israeli towns near the border.
The Iran-backed Hezbollah and IDF are caught in a tit-for-tat fighting. The Israel military said it intercepted a surface-to-air missile fired from Lebanon today, and a drone as well. So far, around 58 people have been killed in the cross-border exchanges of fire, majority being Hezbollah fighters.