Beirut: Hezbollah on Friday announced the death of its military commander in Syria, Mustafa Badreddine.
“He said a few months ago, ‘I will not come back from Syria, unless a martyr or carrying the flag of victory’. He is the top commander Mustafa Badreddine. And he came back today as a martyr,” the Shiite movement said in a statement carried by the Al-Manar TV channel.
Hezbollah, along with Iran, is battling on the side of the regime in Damascus — making the trio de facto allies on the ground.
Israel fears that the chaos in Syria could help strengthen arch-enemy Hezbollah, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted in April that the army had attacked dozens of convoys there that were transporting weapons to the group.
Friday’s statement gave no further details about how Badreddine died.
Badreddine was one of five figures from Hezbollah accused of the assassination of Rafic Hariri, the former prime minister of Lebanon.
In 2012 the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Badreddine along with a number of others in Hezbollah’s leadership, for the movement’s “active support to the regime of Syrian President Bashar (al-)Assad, as well as its role in terrorist activities”.
Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist group by Washington.