Hezbollah fighters will battle alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces as long as necessary, Hezbollah leader says.
“As long as the reasons [to fight in Syria] remain, our presence there will remain,” Hassan Nasrallah said on Thursday in a speech in front of tens of thousands of Lebanese Shia marking the religious ceremony of Ashoura in southern Beirut.
“Our fighters are present on Syrian soil… to confront all the dangers it faces from the international, regional and takfiri attack on this country and region,” Nasrallah said, referring to the self-declared jihadist rebels fighting in Syria.
Takfiri is a term for a hardline Sunni Muslim who sees other Muslims as infidels, often as a justification for killing them.
Hezbollah has helped turn the tide in Assad’s favour this year, leading the recapture of the town of Qusair and fighting alongside government forces south of Damascus and in the northern city of Aleppo.
The 32-month-old conflict has polarised the Middle East between Sunni Muslim powers such as Turkey and the Gulf Arab states, who support the Sunni rebels, and Shia Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah, who back Assad.
The president belongs to the Alawite faith, an offshoot of the Shia sect.