Nasrallah backs Assad as UN condemns Hezbollah

By REUTERS
June 14, 2013 22:49

Hezbollah leader says group will not be deflected from goals after Qusair while UNHRC slams use of all foreign fighters in Syria.

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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Nasrallah Assad Ahmadinejad 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Sana)

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah promised on Friday that the Lebanese terrorist group would keep fighting for Syrian President Bashar Assad after it spearheaded the recapture of the strategic town of Qusair last week.

Echoing the determination of a speech three weeks ago, when he pledged to battle until victory, Nasrallah said Hezbollah was aware of the cost of military engagement in Syria's civil war and would not be deflected from its goal.

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"We will not change our position. After Qusair is the same as before Qusair ... Wherever we need to be, we will be," Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

"What we assumed responsibility for, we will continue to be responsible for, and there is no need to give details," he said during an address commemorating fighters wounded in Hezbollah's military campaigns including a 2006 war with Israel.

The Shi'ite Muslim movement's open military intervention to seize back Qusair from mainly Sunni rebels has escalated tensions in Lebanon between supporters and opponents of Assad. Many Sunnis have also gone to Syria, to fight alongside rebels.

Nasrallah urged his supporters to exercise restraint and maintain stability in Lebanon after rocket fire hit both Sunni and Shi'ite towns in the Bekaa Valley and dozens of people were killed in street fighting in the northern city of Tripoli.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council on Friday condemned the use of all foreign fighters in Syria's civil war, including Lebanese Hezbollah operatives backing the government, but stopped short of calling for a halt to the flow of arms.

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The Geneva forum adopted a resolution brought by Arab and Western powers, urging all parties to refrain from contributing to a further escalation of a conflict in which at least 93,000 people had been killed by the end of April.

Only Venezuela voted against the text, presented by Qatar on behalf of Britain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States - which all back rebel forces. Thirty-seven states backed the motion. Nine abstained.

"Ecuador calls the Council's attention to that fact that the main proponents of this draft resolution are the ones contributing to continuation of violence by providing arms to opposition groups, thus contributing to the escalation of violence," Ecuador's Ambassador Luis Gallego Chiriboga said.

Other Latin American and Asian countries, including Brazil and Pakistan, voiced concerns that the Council had failed to use stronger language to denounce the weapons pouring into Syria.

"If we fail to condemn the transfer of arms in the resolution it is tantamount to adding fuel to the fire," Costa Rica's deputy ambassador Christian Guillermet-Fernandez said.

The heated debate was held a day after the United States said it would now arm rebels, having obtained what it said was proof the Syrian government used chemical weapons against fighters trying to overthrow Assad.

Venezuela's representative, Felix Pena Ramos, referring to the US accusation on the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons, said: "I am sure these are same people who confirmed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

Syria and its ally Russia rejected the text as unbalanced and counterproductive as efforts were being made to convene an international peace conference.

"It turns a blind eye to the presence of jihadists that come from more than 40 countries," Syrian Ambassador Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui said. "Certain countries that sponsored the resolution have financed, trained and supported them."

Russia, whose delegation has observer status and cannot vote, regretted that the United States was one of the initiators of the text despite their joint efforts to convene peace talks.

"The latest one-sided resolution on Syria talks about Hezbollah, but they don't seem to be worried about 1,000 highly-paid and heavily armed rebel groups," said Russian second secretary Roman Kashaev.


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