Hezbollah commander reportedly slain in Damascus revenge killing

Hussein Sleiman Al Mazbouh was buried on Tuesday at a full military-style funeral by the Iran-backed group

Lebanon's Hezbollah members hold party flags as they listen to their leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addressing his supporters via a screen during a rally marking the anniversary of the defeat of militants near the Lebanese-Syrian border, in al-Ain village, Lebanon August 25, 2019. REUTERS/Aziz Taher
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A Hezbollah commander was murdered outside Damascus, according to pro-Hezbollah media, which dubbed his death a “revenge killing” perpetrated by a Lebanese man.

Hussein Sleiman Al Mazbouh was buried on Tuesday following a large Hezbollah funeral procession in his Bekaa Valley hometown of Ali Al Nahri in Lebanon. An orator at the funeral clad in military garb offered condolences “from Beirut to Damascus, France to Venezuela, Sanaa to Baghdad.”

The day before, an outlet sympathetic to Hezbollah reported that Mazbouh was killed near the Shiite shrine of Sayyida Zeinab outside Damascus by a young man identified only by his initials H.H.T.

The perpetrator committed the act out of revenge, the Ya Sour outlet based in south Lebanon said. It added that Mazbouh had killed one of the culprit’s relatives years before.

Meanwhile, a social media group covering news in the Sayyida Zeinab suburb of the Syrian capital said that Lebanese national H. Hussein Tlais shot Mazbouh to death with three bullets in a revenge killing.

The National could not independently verify these reports. However, a violent incident seven-years ago in Mazbouh's hometown of Ali Al Nahri mirrors the motive given for the alleged revenge killing.

On July 14, 2012, Lebanon’s state National News Agency reported that a man identified as Hussein Sleiman Al Mazbouh, born in 1957, shot Mohammad Hussein Tlais in the stomach over a traffic dispute. Tlais later died from his wounds.

Months earlier, a brawl erupted between the Mazbouh and Tlais families in Ali Al Nahri, prompting security forces to intervene to calm the situation.

Mazbouh’s exact role in Hezbollah remains unknown, with death notices only calling him a “commander.”

One of the photos of Mazbouh circulated on social media following his death showed him seated next to a young Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has lost at least 1,139 fighters in the Syrian conflict up to 2018, according to a study released earlier this year by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in Israel.

In May 2013, Hezbollah publicly announced that it had entered the war on the side of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. The Lebanese organization has since participated in military campaigns across the war-torn country.

Hezbollah, along with other Iran-backed Shiite militias in Syria, have used the Sayyida Zeinab Shrine, near where Mazbouh was reportedly killed, as a rallying cry for its fighters in Syria.