The leader of the radical Shiite group Hezbollah vowed Thursday that the organization would remain in Syria as long as necessary to ensure that President Bashar Assad remains in power, the New York Times reported
Speaking at a ceremony to observe the Ashura — one of the most important holidays for Shiite Muslims — Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah boasted that his fighters “are present on Syrian soil” and would remain there “to confront all the dangers of the international, regional, and takfiri attack on this country and on this region.”
In this context, takfiri (infidel) is a reference to Sunni jihadists aligned with al-Qaida who have joined the fight to overthrow Assad.
Nasrallah said Hezbollah — a dominating force in Lebanese politics — would not exchange what he regards as an existential fight for the Syrian Baathist regime for seats in a new Lebanese Cabinet, according to the Times.
Shortly after Nasrallah concluded his remarks, former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri delivered a speech in which he tore into the Hezbollah leader, saying he was sacrificing Lebanon for the benefit of Assad and the Iranian government.
Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, reiterated that his Lebanese Future Movement would not participate in any future government unless Hezbollah ended its intervention in Syria, the Daily Star reported
Hariri said it was shameful that Nasrallah used the Ashura ceremony “to gloat about support for the unjust regime against the oppressed people.”
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