Al Arabiya quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Fellow Faysal Itani on Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria and its strategy moving forward:
To prevent a quagmire, Hezbollah would have to move to Plan B in Syria by scaling down its mission and limiting its goals to defending its home front in Lebanon. Plan B, Faysal Itani of the Atlantic Council tells me, “would be to retreat to the minimum extent of defensible borders and lines of communication that would allow Hezbollah to meet its goals” of preserving the supply routes and “preventing the emergence of a hostile stable government in Syria.”
While Itani sees the current trajectory of Hezbollah’s actions in Syria as somewhere between Plan A and B, there are slim indications that the party might be changing the narrative and the game plan of its mission. In his last meeting with key Lebanese Christian ally Michel Aoun, Nasrallah reportedly emphasized that “it would be impossible to regain back all of Syria.” The goal is still to save the regime, Nasrallah said, although less involvement is seen by Hezbollah in areas such as Idlib and Jisr Shoughour and the now ISIS-held Palmyra. Even in the South, Hezbollah’s offensive has stalled and key border crossings have been relinquished by the regime.
Shifting focus to “the coastal region and the anti-Lebanon mountain chain” says Itani is what Plan B would look like, while ceding territory in the north and the south to the rebels. A senior U.S. official told Al-Hayat newspaper this week that “regional coordination has seen significant improvement on Syria and in terms of training and equipping the rebels.” Such coordination is expected to play out more vigorously in the next months to come especially in southern Syria.