When Hezbollah took on the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the “2006 Lebanon War”, they were a relatively young and gritty army (formed in 1985) that possessed some impressive military capabilities; this caught the IDF Central Command completely off-guard.
Hezbollah was not the typical resistance force the IDF was used to combatting in the West Bank and Gaza: the Lebanese Resistance group was a well-organized, disciplined, and determined army.
Moreover, the multiple Hezbollah contingents that participated in the 2006 Lebanon War did something that the IDF had never seen before – they kept pressing their positions, refusing to retreat or surrender.
Since this violent war, both Hezbollah and the IDF have advanced their military capabilities: the IDF proved this during their ruthless assault on Gaza in June 2014; meanwhile, Hezbollah has displayed their advanced capabilities in the four year long “Syrian Conflict”, as they remain undefeated in all of the offensives they have led in western Syria.
From Al-Qusayr in May of 2013 to Al-Zabadani in July of 2015, Hezbollah has been unbeatable; but, their unbeaten record doesn’t do them justice.
In every offensive they have led, Hezbollah has averaged an 8/1 kill-ratio; this is a rather remarkable feet, given the sheer brutality of this war.
Hezbollah’s estimated death toll is referenced between 1,100-1,300 fighters and these numbers are backed by the prevalent photos of their martyrs that are displayed around Ba’albak (Beqa’a Governorate), Bint Jbeil (Nabitiyah Governorate), and the Dahiyah suburb of south Beirut.
Yes, Hezbollah is usually aided by the Syrian Air Force and the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division; however, they are usually fighting uphill against the Islamist rebel forces (I.e. Al-Zabadani).
Hezbollah has proven so effective in Syria that their participation has forced Israel to aid the Islamist rebels in an attempt to weaken their forces; this has failed.
When military analysts attempt to draw comparisons between Hezbollah and some rebel force in the Syrian conflict, they fail to recognize that the Lebanese Resistance has participated in this conflict for two and a half years and they have yet to lose more than 20 soldiers in one day of battle.
To give you a glimpse at how impressive this number is: when the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) “Southern Front Brigades” launched their large-scale offensive in the provincial capital of Dara’a in July (same time as the Zabadani offensive), the aforementioned group lost an estimated 80 fighters on the first day of this offensive.
Given these examples; it is difficult to argue that Hezbollah is just a well-trained militia – they have proven that they are an army.