Nasrallah says Hezbollah will
not bow to sectarian threats

Hezbollah's leader said his party will continue its responsibilities and warned against sectarian language

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah (NOW)

Hezbollah’s leader on Friday said that his party would continue its military role in Syria and warned against sectarian rhetoric amid the growing tension between Sunnis and Shiites following Hezbollah’s military intervention on the side of the Bashar al-Assad regime.


“We will be where we should be, and what we began we shall continue when it comes to taking up our responsibilities,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in an implicit reference to his party’s fighting in Syria.


“If anyone thinks that by using lies, killings, or threats we will change our stances, they are wrong,” he said in a televised address during a commemoration for Hezbollah’s injured fighters.


“Our position after Al-Qusayr is the same as before, nothing has changed.”


Nasrallah further defended his party’s role in Syria by warning that “those who want to bring down Syria, want to bring down Lebanon and the rest of the region and put it under the control of the Israeli-American-takfiri powers.”


Hezbollah-led troops defeated rebels in Al-Qusayr on June 5, weeks after Nasrallah promised his Shiite party would emerge victorious in its fighting alongside the Syrian regime. Following the conclusion of the battle, Gulf powers have acted to blacklist the Shiite party while Sunni clerics, including Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, have called on their Sunni brethren to take action against Hezbollah.


Nasrallah responded to these developments by warning that opponents of his party and the Assad regime were “trying to create a sectarian war in the region.”


“The crisis in Syria is not pitting two sects against each other, the battle in Syria is not sectarian, but those who consider it as such are those who are weak and those who are losing out.”


“The worst that has happened recently is sectarian rhetoric,” Nasrallah added.


The Hezbollah chief also addressed the looming threat of sectarian violence breaking out in Lebanon, saying that  security incidents in the Beqaa are worsening ties between Sunnis and Shiites.


“[Some] are working on creating problems between Sunnis and Shiites in the Beqaa.”


“We will find a solution to this problem,” he added.


Barrages of rocket fire originating from Syria in recent weeks have hit Shiite-populated areas of the Beqaa amid Syrian rebels’ threats to fight Hezbollah in Lebanon. Meanwhile, the Syrian regime on Wednesday bombed the center of the Sunni-populated town of Arsal for the first time since the Syria conflict erupted.


“I call on our supporters to exercise self-restraint,” Nasrallah also said, especially since “any dispute is being given a sectarian meaning nowadays.”


The Hezbollah chief further defended his party as an “integral” component of Lebanon.


“We are a constituent part of this country, this land and the Lebanese people,” he said, warning, “We were born here, we will be martyred and buried here, and no one will rout us out of here.”


Nasrallah also addressed critics who say his party aims to stifle dissenting voices within the Shiite sect itself, saying, “Let [Shiites] object and criticize us.”


Nasrallah’s comments come after the Shiite anti-Hezbollah Lebanon Option Gathering party was attacked during a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy on Sunday, which led to the death of one Hezbollah critic.

Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech on recent developments on June 14, 2013. (NOW)

We were born here, we will be martyred and buried here, and no one will rout us out of here.