Since last month, a battle for Syria's border-hugging Qalamoun region has been at the forefront of the news. Here, a mixed bag of Syrian rebels, Islamist groups and pro-government forces vie for control of the mountainous area straddling Lebanon and Syria.
Qalamoun has for months seen both Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah bolstering the Syrian Arab army, and al-Qaeda's Syrian arm Jabhat al-Nusra, sometimes fighting alongside rebels. Then in May, we saw the introduction of Daesh.
But this confrontation could represent an important escalation for the area, and for Hezbollah.
The pro-Assad Lebanese group claims the battle is an existential one, but as Al Jazeera notes, controlling this region is also the key to ensuring the continuation of vital supply lines between Tehran and Damascus. Losing this post could mean the end of their footing in Syria’s east, and their connection to units taking on rebels in Syria's Southern Front battlefield.
We put together a gif of Hezbollah’s Qalamoun movements since last month, and one thing is clear — like the rest of the conflict, this battle is no longer just about the Syrian army vs. the rebels. Have a look below. Maps via Twitter.
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