Qassem Kassir

Hezbollah views Syria conflict
as existential, sources say

Hezbollah and other major regional Shiite powers have adopted a stance that the conflict in Syria is an existential one, sources told NOW contributor Qassem Kassir.

Kassir wrote Thursday that top figures in Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Amal Movement as well as Iraqi Shiite parties believe “their defense of [the Syrian regime] is no longer limited to religious reasons and Syrian towns inhabited by Shiites on the Lebanese-Syrian border, it is rather a defense of the Resistance and the region,” although they have yet to make this position public.

Sources close to Hezbollah said that “rumors about the Shiite party’s leaders being restless regarding the fighting in Syria are not true.”

“On the contrary, with the passing of time, their belief in the dangers of what is happening in Syria and the importance of defending [Syria] is increasing because the battle there is an existential and decisive one.”

Hezbollah has acknowledged that its members living in Syrian villages on the border with Lebanon have taken part in battles against "armed groups" in self-defense, although rebels assert the Shiite group is fighting against them alongside the Syrian regime.

Also, the Abu al-Fadl Brigade—which reportedly includes Hezbollah fighters—has taken up the duty of guarding the Shiite shrine of Sayyida Zainab outside Damascus as rebels have pressed an offensive in the area.

A growing number of Hezbollah casualties have been announced in recent weeks amid reports of the heavy deployment of Hezbollah fighters in the Al-Qusayr area of Homs near the border with Lebanon.

NOW reported that four Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria were buried in Lebanon’s Nabatiyeh on Tuesday, while the bodies of more dead fighters have been stored in a nearby hospital for burial in installments.

This article is a translation of the original Arabic

Rumors about the Shiite party’s leaders being restless regarding the fighting in Syria are not true.