QALAMOUN MOUNTAINS, Syria — A powerfully built officer in wraparound sunglasses and digital-print camouflage gave a detailed tactical briefing, propping a map up against a juniper tree and pointing to red circles that he said showed leftover “terrorist hide-outs.”
The presentation, on a limestone-studded Syrian plateau on Friday, had all the trappings of a battlefield tour with American troops in Iraq: officers who refused to discuss politics, fresh-faced public affairs officers, urgent admonitions not to take photographs that could compromise security. All that was missing were the PowerPoint slides.
But the briefing was by a field commander from Hezbollah, whose public relations officials had shepherded a dozen-car convoy of journalists across the unmarked border. The attraction: new territory wrested in recent days from insurgents in Syria.
Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group that is also Lebanon’s most powerful political party, has been on something of a media blitz over the past week, seeking to counter the impression that its grinding campaign in Syria is going badly after battlefield losses for its ally, the Syrian government.