Hezbollah will continue fighting alongside forces loyal to President Bashar Assad against Syrian rebels, the head of the resistance group said Friday, adding that his party’s decision to intervene in Lebanon’s neighbor had been a calculated one.
Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said in a televised speech that recent steps taken by GCC targeting Hezbollah loyalists in the Gulf would not deter his group from its objectives in Syria.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri responded shortly after the speech, issuing a statement in which he denied Nasrallah’s claims that his Future Movement was sending fighters to Syria.
“Once again, Nasrallah [substituted] Hezbollah’s Shura Council for the Lebanese state, institutions, senior officials and armed forces, which in his dictionary don’t exist,” Hariri said.
“It is shameful to implicate Lebanon and expose the interests of its people to danger, and shameful to insist on this path, which will end in destruction.”
Nasrallah, referring to the rebel-held Syrian town that fell this month to Assad’s forces backed by Hezbollah fighters said: “If anyone thinks that through lies, killings and threats we will change our stances, they are wrong. Before Qusair is the same as after Qusair. Nothing has changed,” .
“Wherever we need to be, we will be. What we started taking responsibility for, we will continue to be responsible for; there’s no need to provide details,” he said, addressing a ceremony to honor wounded Hezbollah members.
Nasrallah said taking part in the Syrian conflict had been a “calculated” but “modest” move. “We took a decision, although late, to intervene on the ground,” he added. “This was not spur of the moment.”
Nasrallah reiterated the argument that Hezbollah was confronting an “American-Israeli-takfiri” plot against Syria and the region, and accused the media of exaggerating his party’s military involvement.
“Do they really think Hezbollah is fighting in Aleppo, Deraa, Swaida, Qunaitra, Hasakeh, Raqqa, Tartous and Idlib?” he asked.
Nasrallah said that his party was fighting on Assad’s side but did not oppose calls for reform.
“The other part [of the people] we back in terms of reforms but not in terms of destruction,” he said, referring to Assad’s opponents. “We also support the regime in terms of reforms, but not in terms of destroying Syria.”
The GCC said Monday it would take measures against Hezbollah loyalists in Gulf countries as well as against their finances, while Nasrallah denied party members were operating in Gulf countries and said the decision would not deter the group.
“We aren’t surprised by the threats this past week, including the threats from Gulf states to impose sanctions against Hezbollah members. There are no Hezbollah members in the Gulf anyway,” he said, adding his party had no “plots to target the Gulf.”
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