Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
may launch a military offensive to take over the Lebanese capital of
Beirut if Syrian President Bashar Assad is forced out of power, Dubai-based Arabic-language news website Al Arabiya reported Tuesday according to a "source
close to Hezbollah."
According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, despite an air of
confidence in broadcasts from Hezbollah's Secretary-General Sayyed
Hassan Nasrallah, officials behind closed doors have begun to worry
about the potential fallout that may result following the collapse of
the Syrian regime, especially given the alliance between Hezbollah,
Syria and Iran.
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moment that Hezbollah feels that the fall of the Assad regime is
imminent - either as a result of the popular movement or of foreign
military intervention - it will move quickly to take control of
East and West Beirut," the sources told Al Arabiya.
The source added that Hezbollah would
receive support from the Free Patriotic Movement - a faction with eleven ministers in the Lebanese government - led by former
Lebanese army commander Michel Aoun.
The source said that Hezbollah would seek to fortify itself in the
nation's capital in order to defend itself against the threat posed by
Israel, which may feel emboldened enough following the fall of Assad to
launch an offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Hezbollah, a close ally of both Syria and Iran, has denounced any
potential foreign intervention inside Syria. Nasrallah warned earlier
this month in a televised speech to commemorate "Martyr's Day" that any
attack on Syria or Iran would lead to an all-out regional war.
Israel has said that Iran has heavily armed Hezbollah by smuggling weapons
through Syria. In August, as protests raged across Syria, Turkish
officials seized Iranian arms that were transferred through Syria and
reportedly en route to the militant Islamist group in Lebanon.