Nasrallah: Downfall of Assad would mean fall of Hezbollah

Both Assad and Hezbollah have been fighting against a Sunni Islamist dominated opposition, which includes various jihadi groups such as al-Qaida’s Nusra Front and Islamic State.

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasralla. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasralla.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime must be preserved, as its collapse would mean the end of Hezbollah and the “axis of resistance,” the Lebanese movement’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has said, according to a Lebanese paper close to the Islamic group.
He went on to assert that Assad would not be overthrown, but that it would not be possible for his forces to recover control over all of Syria.
Nasrallah was speaking on Thursday night during a meeting with Free Patriotic Movement party head Michel Aoun, a Christian leader and former Lebanese army chief allied with Hezbollah, Al-Akhbar reported on Tuesday.
The Shi’ite “resistance axis” of Iran, Hezbollah and Syria has been fighting against a Sunni-dominated opposition including jihadists such as Nusra Front and Islamic State.
Nasrallah is set to deliver a speech on Tuesday dealing with regional issues, Al-Manar, Hezbollah’s television channel and media arm, reported.
His meeting with Aoun took place in Beirut’s southern suburbs and lasted five hours, the Daily Star reported Monday.
Aoun described the meeting as “excellent” and “very positive.” An agreement was reached on political, security, and military issues, a source told the newspaper.
They agreed to maintain security in Lebanon despite the chaos going on in the Middle East, with a Hezbollah statement adding that they discussed “the terrorist takfiri threat endangering the whole region, and highlighted the necessity of fighting it by all means to protect Lebanon and its stability.”
Prof. Eyal Zisser, an expert on Syria from the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that there has been no dramatic change in the balance of power in that country of late, but “the momentum is definitely going against Assad and in the long run it is hard to see how he can survive.”
Meanwhile, Hezbollah fighters and gunmen from the al-Qaida- allied Nusra Front clashed on Tuesday in eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria, Al-Manar and a military source in the Lebanese group said.
The source said the group ambushed Nusra fighters in “advanced positions” in the outskirts of the mountain towns of Toufeil and Britel.
Nusra Front fighters have regularly been active in areas close to the Syrian border and have targeted Hezbollah and Lebanese army positions in the past.
Al-Manar said at least 12 Nusra fighters were killed and five of their vehicles were destroyed.
There was no immediate reaction from Nusra Front.
Reuters contributed to this report.