Beirut: The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group vowed on Friday to keep fighting in Syria “wherever needed” and said his Shiite group has made a “calculated” decision to defend the Syrian regime no matter what the consequences.
The comments by Hassan Nasrallah in a speech to supporters in southern Beirut signalled for the first time the Iranian-backed group will stay involved in the civil war raging next door after helping President Bashar Al Assad’s army recapture a key town in Syria’s central Homs province from rebels.
Nasrallah said verbal and other attacks against his militant group “only serve to increase our determination.”
“We will be where we should be, we will continue to bear the responsibility we took upon ourselves,” Nasrallah said. “There is no need to elaborate... we leave the details to the requirements of the battlefield.”
Al Assad’s forces, aided by fighters from Hezbollah, captured Qusair on June 5, dealing a heavy blow to rebels who had been entrenched in the strategic town for over a year.
Since then, the regime has shifted its attention to recapture other areas in the central Homs province and Aleppo to the north.
A visibly angry Nasrallah did not say outright whether his fighters would go as far as fighting in Aleppo, but his words strongly suggested the group was prepared to fight till the end.
“After Qusayr for us will be the same as before Qusayr,” he said. “The project has not changed and our convictions have not changed.”
Nasrallah reiterated that the fight in Syria was one against the “American, Israeli and Takfiri project” that was meant to destroy Syria, which along with Iran has been the group’s main backer. Takfiri Islamists refers to an ideology that urges Sunni Muslims to kill anyone they consider an infidel.
Much of the group’s arsenal, including tens of thousands of rockets, is believed to have come from Iran via Syria or from Syria itself.