"He told them, if we can keep this place going for one year, the message has been delivered already, and that means the whole world will come, and see it, and stand right at the border, and look at Palestine."
A plane shot down, and 'a new era'
Their military and financial support turned around what once looked like a more even battle, ensuring Assad could win back much of the land lost to rebels, at a brutal human cost.
But while Hezbollah has lost an estimated 1,500-2,000 "martyrs" in Syria, the party has only become stronger, the brigade leader says, through combat experience, weapons procurement and increased recruitment abilities.
"I know that the Israelis have asked the Russians many times to move those" Iranian fixed military positions within 60km of the Israeli border. (Many are already believed to have been destroyed by Israel, directly before its plane was shot down in February.)
"I know that the Russians, in the beginning, said to the Israelis, 'We will try.' And then now, I don't think that they are going to be able to do anything. I think they cannot do anything."
But were Israel to again target Iranian positions within Syria, Hezbollah might be tempted to become involved, Tannous believes.
"If Lebanon has Hezbollah as part of its government, and it's harbouring thousands and thousands of missiles in its homes, then Lebanon is game," Bennett was quoted as saying by Haaretz.
"Its infrastructure, international airport and government facilities – it's all game. Because if you don't want that to happen, it doesn't need to happen. You just dismantle this thing called Hezbollah."
"Hezbollah is a Lebanese entity, but they're not independent politically or militarily or whatever, because they are related to Iran, and that's the reality," he says.
"They will tell you that, not me, and they are not ashamed of it, they are proud of it."
Indirectly forced to take an early retirement by Syrian General Ghazi Canaan, the de facto governor of Lebanon at that time, due to his criticism of the then Syrian occupiers, Tannous resents a new foreign occupation in the guise of Iran.
Once upon a time, he says, "I would never have believed that the Iranians would be here. They are not Arabs. They are not on our border. They have played the game, of Sunni versus Shia. I never thought it could happen here."