Hezbollah is under pressure to withdraw from Syria as the US and Sunni leaders in Lebanon and Syria criticize the group’s intervention.

Moaz al-Khatib, the former head of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, called for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to withdraw his fighters from Syria to avoid a sectarian war, AFP reported on Thursday.

“Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria has complicated matters deeply and I expected you, given your political and social stature, to play a more positive role,” the open letter posted on Khatib’s Facebook account said.

“There is a cunning plan to drag the Islamic world into sectarian conflict pitting Sunnis against Shi’ites, starting from Syria and Lebanon, only then to engulf all countries in the region, including Iran and Turkey,” Khatib said, according to AFP.

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Susan Rice, the US representative to the UN, also complained about the Shi’ite terrorist group’s role in Syria.

“Hezbollah not only continues to undermine Lebanon from within by violating the government’s policy of disassociation [from the civil war], but actively enables Assad to wage war on the Syrian people by providing money, weapons and expertise to the regime in close coordination with Iran,” she said, according to a report in the Daily Star.

In Lebanon, two Salafi clerics called for a jihad to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, who is holding the position until a new government is formed, said the calls for jihad would hurt Lebanon and the region.

“The calls for jihad in Syria incite strife and undermine the national, social and spiritual makeup of the peoples of the region,” Mansour said in an interview with Radio Monte Carlo on Thursday, as quoted by the Now Lebanon website.

Hezbollah, along with Iran, is fighting to keep Assad’s regime in power as it faces a Sunni rebel uprising supported by other Sunni nations in the region.

Earlier this week, former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, the head of the Sunnidominated Future Movement, said that Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria was a crime against Lebanon, according to the Star.

“Hezbollah’s involvement in the fight in Syria is an involvement in defense of the Syrian regime, regardless of the sectarian or factional excuses that the party is putting forth to justify this crime. [This will] drag Lebanon into a fire that Bashar Assad has warned of,” Hariri said.

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