The regime is in the midst of an offensive against opposition forces and has been making steady gains in seizing rebel positions. Fighting has been raging around the strategically critical city of Qusayr, and Free Syrian Army chief Salim Idris fears that an atrocity is looming:
Gen Idriss made an emotional appeal to Western powers on the BBC World Service’s Newshour programme, saying: “We are dying. Please come and help us.” He appealed for more weapons “to defend our citizens”. He said the FSA was fielding fewer than 1,500 fighters in the fight for Qusair, armed only with light weapons. More than 50,000 residents were trapped in the town and a “massacre” would occur if it fell, he added.
Hezbollah fighters are central to the Syrian fighting to such an extent that Idris declares they have out-right invaded the country:
The military chief of the main umbrella group of Syrian rebels, the Free Syrian Army, has accused Hezbollah fighters of “invading” Syria in a BBC interview. Gen Selim Idriss claimed that more than 7,000 fighters of the Lebanese Shia movement were taking part in attacks on the rebel-held town of Qusair. The French foreign minister has estimated the number at 3,000-4,000.
Meanwhile Assad is giving exclusive interviews to Hezbollah’s television station.
Idris’s statement comes just days before Gulf states are set to discuss adding Hezbollah to their terror blacklists. Bahrain is the only Gulf state that currently lists the Iran-backed organization as a terror group.