Terrific piece. Among other things:
“The sources continued on to say that regular combat forces belonging to Hezbollah succeeded in reaching Qusair’s municipal building in the center of the city May 19. As is the case in all military operations, once the initial incursion into the heart of enemy territory is achieved and the advance is complete, the incursion strike force cedes its role to support units that are called in to secure the area, thus allowing the strike force to move on to its next target. But sources close to Hezbollah told Al-Monitor that what was overlooked was that the support units called in that evening were predominantly composed of non-professional fighters, mostly volunteers or enthusiasts who joined the main fighting forces stationed in the rear, on the Lebanese border region of Hermel, close to the battleground. According to our sources, these fighters belong to a generation of men who did not see action in the July 2006 war that Hezbollah fought against the Israeli army.
Three tragic surprises awaited those fighters as they entered Qusair’s center. The first was sophisticated booby-traps Syrian opposition militants had planted on each street corner they vacated. The second was the emergence of opposition fighters from hiding places they had prepared underground in secret tunnels dug a long time ago. And the third was the effectiveness of Syrian opposition snipers, armed with very advanced rifles that allowed them to pick off a number of Hezbollah fighters from long distances, and from camouflaged fortified positions that facilitated their task.
The same sources further confirmed that Hezbollah’s fighters managed, on the Monday that followed the ambush (May 20), to adapt to and overcome what had occurred, and initiate the second phase of their battle there, which effectively began two days after they entered the city.”