The rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) held Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah personally responsible for the situation in the Syrian border town of Qusayr, as sectarian tension was on the rise in neighboring Lebanon.
“We announced that Hassan Nasrallah will be held personally responsible for the current situation because he in person is meeting with all of [his fighters] before they head to Qusayr,” FSA spokesperson Louay Almokdad told Al Arabiya English. “We are today calling Nasrallah a killer of the Syrian people.”
Clashes between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – along with Lebanese ally Hezbollah – and the rebels raged into a second day Monday in the strategic town of Qusayr, which is between Damascus and the coast.
“It has reached the audacity and extent of criminal behavior that Nasrallah met with 1,200 of his fighters in the southern suburbs [of Beirut] before they headed to [Syria],” the FSA spokesperson said, adding the Hezbollah chief has distributed “tokens of motivation on which Shiite slogans – Yatharat al-Hussein – were written to each of his fighters.”
“We are certain these are fighters of Hassan Nasrallah. They are no longer Hezbollah, they are fighters of Hassan Nasrallah and [Iran’s supreme leader] Ali Khamanei.”
However, the FSA spokesperson also said that, along with Hezbollah, were fighters from other Lebanese groups, including the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and the Baath Party.
The Syrian rebels have repeatedly warned that they will hit Hezbollah targets on Lebanese territory if the latter does not withdraw from Syria and have called on the Lebanese government to put a stop to Hezbollah intervention.
The Lebanese government: a state of paralysis
However, according to Imad Salamey – a professor of International Affairs at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, the Lebanese government cannot do anything to stop the powerful Party of God.
“The Lebanese government has been and continues to be in a state of paralysis, which mostly works in Hezbollah’s interest,” Salamey told Al Arabiya English on Monday. “The government cannot stop Hezbollah, and the [Lebanese] army stopping Hezbollah from intervening in Syria will definitely not be the case.”
“Hezbollah is being dragged further into the Syrian conflict, and it is not going to end in Qusayr,” he said, adding that the movement “was dragging Lebanon into a civil war.”
“[Hezbollah’s] involvement in the Syrian issue, no matter what the pretext, will only drag Lebanon into the conflict because the Lebanese are divided [on the issue].”
At least three people were killed and 40 injured in two days of fighting in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, where an Alawite minority lives. Lebanese Sunnis mostly sympathize with the revolt against the government of Bashar al-Assad, whose minority Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Video shows body of alleged Hezbollah fighter killed in Syria
A YouTube video uploaded on Monday purportedly showed the body of a Hezbollah fighter killed in the Syrian town of Qusayr.
The Lebanese Shiite party member was killed during an attempt to infiltrate the city along with regime troops backed by other Hezbollah members, Syrian rebels said.
He had a tattoo of a Shiite religious icon on his right arm, and wore a name tag that, according to rebels, said he was a Hezbollah member.
At least 40 Hezbollah fighters were killed in Qusayr late on Sunday, following clashes between Syrian rebels and regime forces that attempted to enter the town earlier in the day, sources told Al Arabiya on Monday.
Tens of Hezbollah members were wounded during the fight, and were taken to hospitals in Beirut, sources added.
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