Brigadier-General Lu’ayy Shehadeh of the Syrian Army’s engineering directorate said in a March 12, 2019 interview on Al-Manar TV in which he showed the interviewer one of the Syrian military’s tunnels, that the Syrian Civil War gave the Arab Syrian Army valuable experience for a future war with Israel, particularly in the field of underground warfare, which he said Syrian soldiers are now experts in. He said that the Syrian Army has advanced tunnel warfare equipment, much of which he said is locally made, and that Syrian soldiers can dig high-quality tunnels to any depth and in any surroundings or conditions, for both offensive or defensive purposes. He added that the “real war” with Israel is still on.
Following are excerpts:
Interviewer: When we were sitting in your office, you told me that we had won this war, and that the war had provided the heroes of the Arab Syrian army with experience that can be put to use in any future war. After all, we still have a war ahead of us [with] our main enemy, Israel.
Brigadier-General Lu’ayy Shahadeh: Israel. Right.
Interviewer: What are today’s elements of deterrence? I was waiting for us to be inside the tunnel to ask this question. What are today’s elements of deterrence – not only in underground warfare, but also above ground?
What deterrence does the Syrian army have that will allow it to win any future war? After all, our compass is pointing to Jerusalem.
Brigadier-General Lu’ayy Shahadeh: I will only comment about the tunnel warfare, because we specialize in that kind of warfare.
Interviewer: That’s the end of the tunnel? Okay, go ahead.
Brigadier-General Lu’ayy Shahadeh: I can tell you that as experts on tunnel warfare, we have made large strides during this crisis, throughout the years of the war. We have reached a point where the Syrian fighter’s expertise in tunnel warfare is very high, and his technical equipment and gear are very advanced. I won’t expose anything, but all this equipment is made locally, and this is very important.
Interviewer: This is wonderful, not just important…
Brigadier-General Lu’ayy Shahadeh: We relied on imported equipment, but the most useful equipment was local.
Interviewer: I’ve asked you about the elements of deterrence.
Brigadier-General Lu’ayy Shahadeh: With regard to deterrence – we are ready. We are ready to wage tunnel warfare both defensively and offensively – and offensively in particular.
Interviewer: Offensive as well?
Brigadier-General Lu’ayy Shahadeh: Yes. We recently reached a point where our fighters can dig high-quality tunnels in any surroundings, in any conditions, and to any depth.
Interviewer: The tables have turned. You took what they did and turned it into your own advantage.
Brigadier-General Lu’ayy Shahadeh: There was much pessimism, in light of all the destruction…
Interviewer: But there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel.
Brigadier-General Lu’ayy Shahadeh: Allah willing, we’ve reached a level that will serve us in the main and real conflict. As I’ve told you, we believed right from the start that [the Syrian Civil War] would end. But the conflict [with Israel] is still on. The real war is still on.