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FSA gives 24-hour ultimatium to Hezbollah fighters in Syria

Published: Updated:

A Free Syrian Army (FSA) official warned the Lebanese Shiite group, Hezbollah, to end its involvement in the Syrian conflict and stop backing government troops in an interview with Al Arabiya aired Tuesday.

Brigadier General Salim Idris, the current chief of Staff of the Supreme Military Council of the FSA, said: “If the attacks of Hezbollah [on] Syrian territory do not stop within 24 hours, we will take all measures to hunt Hezbollah, even in hell.”

“I will no longer be bound by any commitments I made if a decision to stop the attacks... is not taken and implemented,” he added.

He said “everyone” should “excuse FSA” for retaliating as “we are being subjected to genocide conducted by Hezbollah.”

Qusayr, a town in the central province of Homs, became the flashpoint confrontation between Hezbollah fighters and the armed opposition battling President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The Iran-backed Hezbollah sent almost 1,700 fighters to Qusayr more than a week ago to support the regime’s assault on the rebel stronghold.

Initially Hezbollah said it wanted only to defend 13 Syrian villages along the border where Lebanese Shiites live, and the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine near Damascus, which is revered by Shiites around the world.

However, its fighters later encircled Qusayr with regime troops before the launch of a withering assault on the strategic border town that is home to 25,000 people.

Due to the increased involvement of Hezbollah fighters in Qusayr, a draft resolution condemning the Syrian regime’s use of foreign fighters in the rebel-held will be debated on Wednesday by the U.N.’s top rights body, AFP reported.

The draft resolution, presented on Tuesday, “condemns the intervention of foreign combatants fighting on behalf of the Syrian regime in al-Qusayr,” an implicit reference to the involvement of Hezbollah fighters in the fierce battle for the strategic town.

Meanwhile, on Monday, activists reported that heavy clashes between the Hezbollah and Syrian rebels also took place in a Damascus district called Ghouta.

Activists claimed that thousands of Hezbollah fighters were training in an air force intelligence center in Al-Masraf region near Damascus International Airport, adding that the Lebanese group has taken over nine towns in the Al-Murj area neighboring Ghouta.