The Guardian reports: Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, has confirmed for the first time that members of the powerful Lebanese Shia organisation are helping President Bashar al-Assad fight the uprising against his rule – and will stand by him.
Nasrallah – a close ally of Assad – also hinted that Russia and Iran, Syria’s principal supporters, would intervene militarily to prevent his defeat.
“Syria has real friends in the region and the world that will not let Syria fall in the hands of America, Israel or Takfiri (extreme jihadi) groups,” Nasrallah said in a broadcast on Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV channel. “How will this happen? Details will come later. I say this based on information … rather than wishful thinking.”
Alluding to concerns about growing sectarianism in the region, Nasrallah that there would be “dangerous retribution” if any harm befell the historic Sayyida Zeinab Shia shrine near Damascus.
Fighting in the Qusayr region inside Syria but close to the Lebanese border, was “not over,” he said. Overall, his combative statement was widely seen as a pledge of public support for the Damascus government – and as such an escalation of the already grave crisis.