Two Hezbollah captives held in Syria by the al-Qaida affiliated organization, Jabhat al-Nusra, have spoken against Hezbollah's involvement in the military conflict in Syria, claiming that it is not clear why the organization takes part in a war that has nothing to do with Lebanon.
The two, Hasan Ta and Mohammad Shu'ayb, were interviewed by the Lebanese journalist, Carol Malouf, in a 58-minute talk that was released on her private YouTube channel on Monday, after pressures exerted by Hezbollah caused the Lebanese MTV channel to cancel the interview's broadcast.
The captives describe how Hezbollah changed its strategy with the beginning of the Syrian civil war from being an organization that prepares constantly for war with Israel, to an organization that aims at preventing Sunni radicals in Syria from infiltrating Lebanon.
Shu'ayb explained this radical change, saying: "Before the 2006 War, all our efforts were directed against Israel. During all our courses we were told that our fighting is against Israel. Following the war, many people joined Hezbollah's ranks. In 2013, the conflict in Syria started and it was no longer Israel we had to fight with. When al-Nusra first arrived in south Lebanon, this was a peaceful area without many fighters. Hence Hezbollah started sending its members, like me, to this area of the Qalamoun Mountains."
Surprisingly, the Hezbollah captives did not praise their organization for participating in the fighting in Syria and called it an "illegitimate intervention," claiming that "the Syrian people are those who should decide about their future."
Serving as part of Hezbollah's administrative team in Aleppo prior to their capture, the two argued that "in the beginning, we thought that our fight in Syria was a holy defense, since we dealt with people who wanted to conquer our land. But now the picture has changed. When we crossed Lebanon's borders and reached Idlib, Halab and Latakia, and all these regions, we understood that this war is related to political agendas."
The two also voiced opposition to the Russian aerial campaign which they allege does not target ISIS. In addition, they compared Hezbollah's infiltration into Syria in 2013 to Israel's infiltration into Lebanon in 2006, and claimed that, "We are infiltrators; of course, we have entered a land which is not ours."
The heavy criticism sounded by the two captives against Hezbollah's policy in Syria appears to stand behind the pressures the organization exerted in recent days on the heads of the MTV channel to prevent the broadcast of the interview, that comes amid great losses the organization has recently suffered in the fight over Aleppo.