A Hezbollah fighter stands on a hill next to the group’s yellow flag in the mountainous region of Qalamoun, Syria.
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Hezbollah is helping to lead a Russian-backed offensive in southern Syria, pro-Damascus sources said, exposing the limits of U.S. policy that hopes Moscow can get Iran and groups it backs out of the country. Hezbollah's role in the offensive near the border with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights has also defied Israeli demands that Iranian proxies be kept away from its frontier – a fault line of the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict.Hezbollah's role includes directing Syrian forces, the commander said.A senior official in the regional alliance backing Assad said Hezbollah was fighting "under the cover" of the Syrian army in the south.Recent Russian calls for non-Syrian forces to leave the south have been seen as partly directed at Iranian-backed forces.Support from Iran and Hezbollah helped Assad survive rebel advances and plug manpower gaps early on, and then win back territory once Russia's air force arrived to help in 2015 .Israel was "broadly comfortable" with the Syrian army returning to the Golan frontier as long as groups such as Hezbollah stay away.
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