Artillery shells lie inside a cave during a tour by Hezbollah fighters to areas they recently captured from militants, in Wadi al-Kheil or al-Kheil Valley in the Lebanon-Syria border, Saturday, July 29, 2017. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
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Hezbollah's swift victory against militants in Arsal's outskirts all but assures the party influence along the Syrian-Lebanese border, but only there, and only to the extent that the United States and Russia will tolerate in Syria, analysts told The Daily Star Friday.A U.S.-Russian agreement with stipulations to the same effect emerged soon after and also included a distancing of Hezbollah and any affiliated troops from the Golan Heights.Yahya believes Iran, and in turn Hezbollah by way of its ties with the regional power, would not contest the understandings in the agreement.Although the agreement stands, the U.S. and Russia lack the clout to prevent Hezbollah from engaging in other theaters within the country.Makram Rabah, a lecturer in AUB's History Department, said that Hezbollah will now clear out any other threats to its zone of influence along the western Syrian Qalamoun mountain range.As it stands Atrissi pointed to a Russian-Israeli agreement that saw Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed groups move off from southeastern Syria and the Golan Heights.
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