Amid the mounting death toll of Hezbollah operatives in Syria, a delegation of
Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon has asked the Shi’ite group’s leadership to stop
sending operatives to fight for Syrian President Bashar Assad, pan-Arabic daily
Asharq Alawsat reported Sunday.
The London-based paper quoted a source
familiar with the situation as saying that the increasing number of casualties
in Syria, including some senior commanders, has raised concerns among Lebanese
Shi’ites, especially those from Baalbek, who were part of a delegation to visit
Hezbollah Shura Council member Muhammad Yazbek and demand a stop to sending
their men to Syria.
The delegation reportedly argued that it had been
proud to send its sons to fight in the 2006 Second Lebanon War against Israel
and in other wars against the Jewish state, but saw the deployment of their
children to defend the Syrian regime as “shameful” and that it was unacceptable
to embroil their men in a war in which they had no interest at all.
source added that Hezbollah was facing the dilemma of being unable to withdraw
its forces at present.
As a result, the source continued, several
meetings were held at the highest levels of the party to discuss the matter and
it was agreed that a delegation would be sent to Iran to explain to the
leadership there that the party was no longer able to bear the burden of
supporting the Syrian government alone by sending fighters from Lebanon. It
planned to urge Iran to send more fighters.
The source also noted the
rise of Hezbollah operatives participating in the fighting in Syria. Following
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s visit to Tehran and Damascus three months
ago, more than 20 units were sent to Syria from the Bekaa by Hezbollah, each
battalion consisting of approximately 100 men.