A rebel fighter distributes chocolate to people fleeing Idlib city, in fear of air strikes by the forces of Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad, after the rebels took control of the area, March 28, 2015. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
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In recent months there has been much talk of a Hezbollah offensive in the Qalamoun district of Syria.For Iran an indecisive campaign in Qalamoun, after the other recent losses, would be disastrous. It would create an impression that Iran and Hezbollah can be beaten, at a time when the Syrian regime is vulnerable and cannot readily mobilize military manpower. In recent months Hezbollah has carefully laid the groundwork for an attack in Qalamoun by pushing the Lebanese Army into a border interdiction effort.The Syrians and Hezbollah have pushed for tighter coordination but the military command is not eager to be drawn into the Syrian conflict, and does want to be perceived as taking part in the Qalamoun campaign.Hezbollah and Iran, not to mention the Syrian armed forces, have their work cut out for them in Qalamoun. Qalamoun is vital as it straddles communication lines between Damascus and the Syrian coast, and if the Assad regime is to reinforce itself that passage must be secured.Control of Syria's borders is essential to preserving Bashar Assad's regime.
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