Hezbollah TV to interview Syrian president

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to give an interview Thursday to Al-Manar, the television channel of Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah which has militiamen fighting alongside government forces inside Syria, his office said.

The interview would be broadcast simultaneously on Syria’s official television channels at 9:00 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Thursday, the presidency announced on its Facebook page.

Iran-backed Hezbollah, a close ally of Assad, sent almost 1,700 fighters to the central Syrian town of 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.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has promised his fighters will help deliver “victory” in the battle for Qusayr, seen as a potential game-changer in Syria’s drawn out civil war in which more than 94,000 people have died.

Syrian rebel chief Salim Idriss warned on Tuesday that if Hezbollah fighters do not stop their aggression in Syria within 24 hours, “we will take all measures to hunt” them, “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,” said Idriss, a brigadier general who heads the supreme military council of the Free Syrian Army.

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