Hezbollah commander killed in Aleppo Shia town
Mourners carry the coffin of Mohammed Hijazi, a member of Lebanon's Hezbollah who was killed in combat alongside Syrian government forces in Syria, during his funeral on February 1, 2016. (AFP/File)
A Hezbollah field commander has been killed in clashes in a flashpoint Shiite town in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, media reports said on Friday.
“The commander Haidar Fariz Merhi and the fighter Hussein Hassan Jawad, who both hail from the western Bekaa town of Mashghara, were killed fighting in the Nubol and Zahraa area north of Aleppo,” Al-Arabiya television reported.
The pro-Hezbollah South Lebanon news portal confirmed Merhi's death, also describing him as a Hezbollah commander.
According to Al-Arabiya, a third Hezbollah fighter was killed in Syria in recent days.
It identified him as Ali Moussa Nassour, saying he hailed from the southern Beirut suburb of Bourj al-Barajneh.
Hezbollah, the Syrian army and allied militiamen on Wednesday broke a long running rebel siege of on the Shiite villages of Nubol and Zahraa.
The two villages, located in the middle of opposition territory, had been blockaded by rebel groups for around three years. The development marked a major victory for the regime forces and its allies, which have made significant advances in the province in the past few days – backed by massive Russian airstrikes.
Regime troops, Hezbollah fighters and allied militiamen arrived in the two towns on Thursday morning to cheering crowds who threw rice and ululated, according to footage shown on state television.
Hundreds of Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Syria since the party's decision to intervene militarily in the conflict.