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Covid-19 infection impacts Hizbullah reputation and regional operations

  • Various sources, including within Hizbullah’s military wing, have reported to Janes that the group’s hospitals in Beirut are overwhelmed by members infected with Covid-19. The virus has reportedly been spread extensively by fighters and leadership figures returning from Iran and Syria.

  • The impact of the health crisis on Hizbullah’s regional operational capabilities remains unclear, yet sources in the group have claimed that containment of the virus is diverting operational focus away from the Syrian conflict and will likely decrease capacity to travel and project force across the broader region.

  • Although the emergency response to the pandemic could serve as an informal means of control, and cultivate a broader base of support within Lebanese society, wider political and socio-economic consequences are likely for Hizbullah in the coming 6–12 months.

  • In line with information circulating on social media, on 26 March, Hizbullah announced a health emergency plan in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, including the deployment of 24,500 doctors, nurses, paramedics and field staff. Moreover, the group states they are dedicating their hospitals to provide free Covid-19 testing and treatment addition to manufacturing ventilators. In addition, Hizbullah declared it will make its resorts and hotels – non-profit sites usually used for summer and recreational activities for youth and scouts – available as quarantine sites.


The Covid-19 outbreak therefore presents serious challenges for Hizbullah: much of the group’s attention has been diverted from an operational focus on Syria, where the group’s fighters play a critical role in defending the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Moreover, with its fighters falling victim to the virus, the effect on the group’s military capabilities remains to be seen.

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