Lebanese minister says 'Hezbollah does not fight with orders from government'

The current situation in Qalamoun has pitted multiple extremist organizations against one another in a bloody conflagration.

June 1, 2015 14:05
1 minute read.
Hezbollah Nasralla

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasralla.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Lebanese Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said Monday that the Shi'ite terrorist organization Hezbollah "makes decisions without referring to the government," and added that “Hezbollah does not fight with orders from the government.”

Derbas was referring to a recent offensive conducted by Hezbollah in the Qalamoun region of northwestern Lebanon against Syrian-based ISIS and Nusra Front jihadis in the border town of Arsal which has pitted different extremist organizations against one another in a bloody conflagration, leading to a debate within the Lebanese government on what their role should be.

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Derbas was quoted by Lebanon's Daily Star as saying that the battle taking place against militant factions was not worth risking the lives of soldiers.

"“The Army has formed a barrier between militants and Arsal and the [Syrian] refugees,” he noted, adding “Not a single casualty occurred in [Lebanon] during the [Qalamoun] battles because the Army was constantly monitoring the militants’ movements.”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and his allies in the Free Patriotic Movement have demanded previously that the Army should be granted a free hand to oust ISIS and Nusra Front militants from Arsal’s fringes, according to The Daily Star.

Yet, former prime minister Saad Hariri and The Future Movement,  which is aligned regionally with Saudi Arabia against the Iran-Hezbollah-Syria axis, has warned Hezbollah against carrying out any operations near Arsal, saying that protection of the town is the responsibility of the Lebanese state and Army, The Daily Star added.

A cabinet meeting set for Monday plans to address the security situation in Arsal and possible ways to deescalate the fighting.

United Nations human rights investigators have said since December of 2012 Hezbollah has been involved in the Syrian civil war, fighting on behalf of the Bashar Assad regime.

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