SNC calls on Hezbollah fighters to defect
Members of the Syrian National Coalition on Sunday called on Hezbollah fighters to defect from fighting within the country as members of the Lebanese Shiite party lead an assault on Qusayr in central Syria.
Hezbollah is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
Hezbollah "repeats Assad's grievous mistake of forcing his people to kill innocent Syrians, which will undoubtedly lead the honorable members of Hezbollah to defect and stand by the truth," the SNC's statement read, AFP reported.
"The Syrian Coalition hopes for peace for the people of Lebanon and rejects Hezbollah's call to turn the Syrian revolution into a regional conflict," the opposition group added.
- The Syrian National Coalition (SNC) made these remarks just one day after Hezbollah's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah vowed "victory" in the battles ongoing in Syria, during a speech made to mark the 13th anniversary of Israeli forces withdrawing from Lebanon.
"I say to all the honorable people, to the mujahedeen, to the heroes: I have always promised you a victory and now I pledge to you a new one" in Syria, Nasrallah said, according to AFP.
"Syria is the rear guard of the resistance (Hezbollah's fight with Israel), its backbone, and the resistance cannot stay with its arms folded when its rear guard is exposed."
The SNC said Nasrallah "has used ideological, extremist, and fringe rhetoric in order to push followers of Hezbollah into a war based on deception, false legacies and lies, driving the group to death and destruction."
Hezbollah drafted its soliders into a Syrian army and paramilitary assault on rebel stronghold of Qusayr, which has witnessed a huge battle over the past week, as soldiers fight for the city, strategic due to its proximity to the Lebanese border and its position close to the main route from Damascus to the coast.
The group has reportedly sent 1,700 men to fight in Syria, sparking outrage among Western states, AFP reported.
Thirty people have died in six days of battles in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli, pitting Sunnis who back the Syrian rebellion against Alawites who back Assad, a Lebanese security source said Saturday, speaking to Agence France Presse.
Four people were wounded in Lebanon Sunday when two rockets exploded in the Shiite-majority Hezbollah heartland of south Beirut, a second security source told AFP.
"This incident is probably related to the conflict in Syria," the source added.