Supporters of Hezbollah and relatives give the Nazi salute during a funeral. Photo: REUTERS
Amid the mounting death toll of Hezbollah operatives in Syria, a delegation of Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon has asked the Shi’ite group’s leadership to stop sending operatives to fight for Syrian President Bashar Assad, pan-Arabic daily Asharq Alawsat reported Sunday.
The London-based paper quoted a source familiar with the situation as saying that the increasing number of casualties in Syria, including some senior commanders, has raised concerns among Lebanese Shi’ites, especially those from Baalbek, who were part of a delegation to visit Hezbollah Shura Council member Muhammad Yazbek and demand a stop to sending their men to Syria.
The delegation reportedly argued that it had been proud to send its sons to fight in the 2006 Second Lebanon War against Israel and in other wars against the Jewish state, but saw the deployment of their children to defend the Syrian regime as “shameful” and that it was unacceptable to embroil their men in a war in which they had no interest at all.
The source added that Hezbollah was facing the dilemma of being unable to withdraw its forces at present.
As a result, the source continued, several meetings were held at the highest levels of the party to discuss the matter and it was agreed that a delegation would be sent to Iran to explain to the leadership there that the party was no longer able to bear the burden of supporting the Syrian government alone by sending fighters from Lebanon. It planned to urge Iran to send more fighters.
The source also noted the rise of Hezbollah operatives participating in the fighting in Syria. Following Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s visit to Tehran and Damascus three months ago, more than 20 units were sent to Syria from the Bekaa by Hezbollah, each battalion consisting of approximately 100 men.