Hezbollah has been under increasingly vocal criticism by Lebanese officials for entangling the country in the Syrian war. The leader of one of Lebanon’s largest Christian political parties declared that the Iran-backed terror group was plunging the country “into fire.” A top Hezbollah commander was reportedly killed last week during a battle in Syria outside of Damascus.
In response, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah last Friday literally doubled down on his organization’s commitment to battle on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria:
In his animated address, the Hezbollah leader also said that if needed Hezbollah, which the United States has labeled a terrorist organization, would double the number of militiamen it has sent to Syria to fight on the side of the government of President Bashar Assad. “If we have a thousand fighters in Syria, they will become 2,000, and if we have 5,000 fighters in Syria, they will become 10,000,” Nasrallah declared, drawing loud cheers from the crowd watching him on a giant screen. “And if the battle with those terrorists requires it, I and all of Hezbollah will go to Syria.”
The boasts and threats came a day after a car bomb ripped through Hezbollah’s stronghold in the southern Beirut district of Dahiyeh. The attack was claimed by a previously unknown jihadist group, which described the car bombing as retaliation for Hezbollah’s critical role in helping the Assad regime erode nearly two years of gains by the largely Sunni rebels.