I mentioned the other day how the fight in Syria wasn’t going quite as easily as many predicted for Hezbollah, with it suffering heavy losses even trying to take a modestly-sized border city, Will Qusayr be Hezbollah’s Stalingrad?
As of the latest reports, rebels are still in control of parts of al-Qusayr, but the situation is very murky with pro-Assad sources proclaiming victory and anti-Assad forces denying. Hezbollah officials are quoted as admitting the fight is much tougher than expected, and today saw round-the-clock shelling of the city.
Against that backdrop, Hezbollah’s leader proclaimed that it was in the fight in Syria to the bitter end, as reported by The NY Times, Hezbollah Leader Orders Full Fight to Save Assad:
The leader of the powerful Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on Saturday decisively committed his followers to an all-out battle in Syria to salvage the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, saying that Hezbollah was fighting abroad to “immunize” Lebanon from an Israeli invasion he said would surely follow if Syrian rebels prevailed.
“It is our battle, and we are up to it,” the leader, Hassan Nasrallah, declared, in his most direct embrace yet of a fight in Syria that Hezbollah can no longer hide now that dozens of its fighters have fallen recently in and around the strategic Syrian town of Qusayr. Outgunned Syrian rebels have held on for a week there against a frontal assault by Hezbollah and Syrian forces.
The speech was delivered via videotape on the 13th anniversary of the end of Israel’s 15-year occupation of southern Lebanon after years of battling Hezbollah’s guerrillas, which the group considers its greatest victory. Mr. Nasrallah seemed to be preparing his followers for the heavy price in lives and political capital that the organization could pay as it embarks on an unprecedented intervention in a neighboring country, a move that could deeply destabilize Lebanon.
The Lebanese website Naharnet reports:
On his party’s involvement in the battles alongside Assad’s forces, he said: “A political and economic world war was launched on Syria and thousands of fighters were sent without anyone complaining.”
“Meanwhile, Hizbullah’s involvement was considered a foreign interference,” he noted.
Nasrallah explained that Syria is the resistance’s backbone: “We cannot stand still and let the break the resistance’s main supporter.”
Nasrallah said Hizbullah fighters joining the war in Syria are not forced “go willingly and aspire to take part in the resistance.”
“You will find tens of thousands of fighters that are ready to take all fronts and participate in the battles. No one is forced into the war,” he assured.
The leader of the Lebanese Sunni opposition, Saad Hariri, mocked Nasrallah’s speech, via NOW Lebanon:
Lebanon’s Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri said that the speech delivered by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is worth nothing.
“Your latest speech, Sayyed Hassan, is worth a squared zero by all political, national, moral, legal, religious and humanitarian standards in our eyes, in the eyes of the majority of Lebanese people and definitely in the eyes of the Syrians,” Hariri voiced in a statement issued by his press office on Saturday.
He continued: “The Resistance has declared political and military suicide in Al-Qusayr,” adding that “there is no doubt that you [Nasrallah] have excelled in instigating sectarianism like never before.”
“You have drilled a hole in Syria with the blood of children, women, and elderly; you have drilled an abyss in which you want the resistance to fall.
The Future leader added: “The time of trafficking Palestine and the resistance, the time of trafficking national unity has come to an end and the Lebanese, Arab and Islamic people everywhere have discovered this lie.”
Now that Hezbollah is all-in on Syria, there’s no turning back without complete humiliation.
Update: Hizballah Cavalcade: The Qusayr Meat Grinder: Hizballah’s Dead From May 20-May 25, 2013 (Index to prior reports here) (h/t The Jawa Report):
The five day period from May 20-25th saw a massive rise in the number of Hizballah funerals which occurred across Lebanon. There were also group funerals. One occurred in the Bekka city of Ba’albek and is shown below.
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