There have been fresh developments in Syria with the shifting dynamic on the ground as a result of Hezbollah’s presence, and the growing relationship between American statesmen, the EU and rebel forces.
The New York Times' Anne Barnard reported Monday detailing the “gamble” that the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is taking by sending their fighters to bordering Syria to help crush a rebellion that is detested by Hezbollah's Shiite base but popular among rivals.
Hezbollah’s biggest stake in the conflict is the same as that of its ally, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad: survival. The group relies on Syria to provide a conduit for arms from its main patron, Iran. Preserving that flow is a matter of life or death for Hezbollah, as its leaders have made clear.
To justify the unexpected new sacrifices it is asking from its followers, Hezbollah has framed the risky intervention in Syria as crucial to safeguarding its avowed core missions: challenging Israel, empowering its Shiite community and protecting Lebanon.
Hezbollah’s increased involvement supporting the Syrian government comes as U.S. Sen. John McCain made a surprise visit to rebel leaders in Syria for several hours Monday. Inside meetings with McCain and Free Syrian Army leader Gen. Salem Idris, The Daily Beast reports that rebel leaders called on the United States to step up its support to the Syrian armed opposition and provide them with heavy weapons, a no-fly zone, and airstrikes on the Syrian regime and the forces of Hezbollah.
Secretary of State John Kerry also met with French and Russian diplomats in Paris Monday to attempt to rekindle peace talks with the hope of ending the bloody Syrian civil war that has now prolonged over two years. The Wall Street Journal reports that the three-way meeting was part of a wider effort to arrange a peace conference in Geneva next month meant to craft a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
EU countries have recently decided to soon lift an embargo on sending weapons to Syria's opposition, but will review this position before August 1. Russia will continue to send weapons to the Syrian government as a "stabilizing factor" to deter foreign intervention in the region.