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Nasrallah grieves loss of ‘many’ fighters in Syria

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah admitted on Friday that his militia has lost “a large number” of fighters in Syria

Published: Updated:

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah admitted on Friday that his militia has lost “a large number” of fighters in Syria.

This is the first time the Shiite militant group affiliated with Iran recognizes such loss through its leader’s words.

Nasrallah repeated his threats to Syrian opposition by warning that his group would boost its support for the Syrian regime despite the killing of one of its top commanders there last week.

"We will increase and bolster our presence in Syria," Nasrallah said in a speech during a ceremony to mark a week since Mustafa Badreddine was killed in an artillery attack near Damascus.

"More commanders than before will go to Syria. We will be present in different ways and we will continue the fight," he said.

According to experts on the militant group, Hezbollah has sent thousands of combatants to Syria since 2013, and up to 2,000 of its fighters have been killed in battles there.

Hezbollah has accused Islamist extremists of killing Badreddine, but did not name any group.

Nasrallah said no evidence pointed to Israel -- the Shiite movement's sworn enemy -- being involved in the killing.

He paid tribute to Badreddine, saying he tried to convince him to not “go to Syria.”

However, according to Nasrallah, Badreddine “insisted on traveling to Syria as he did not want to lead the battle remotely.”

Badreddine was killed in an area technically under the control of the Syrian army, where Hezbollah and Iranian fighters have are present too.