Hezbollah's leadership is considering the possibility of taking control of Beirut and effectively carrying out a military coup in Lebanon should the current Syrian regime fall, the al-Arabia network reported Tuesday.
According to the report, Hezbollah members have expressed concerns over the escalation of the civil uprising in Syria, which could lead to the fall of Bashar Assad's regime. The Syrian president is an ally of the Lebanese Shiite group.
- Clinton: Only a matter of time before Assad's gone
Syrian army defectors hit intel complex
- Live: Lebanese politicians brawl over Assad
Sources close to Hezbollah noted that it was due to those concerns that the Hezbollah leadership was examining various scenarios - including a "broad maneuver on the ground," similar to the takeover of Beirut in May 2008. However, the current plans apparently include a much more extensive maneuver which may expand to a military coup.
"As soon as Hezbollah will sense that the collapse of Assad's regime is imminent, armed cells will quickly begin operating to seize control of Beirut's eastern and western parts," one of the sources told al-Arabia.
"This operation, which will be coordinated with Hezbollah's allies, including Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement, will be carried out under the banner of 'protecting the resistance and its weapons inside Lebanon,'" he said.
According to the source, Hezbollah will explain that the takeover "as an act that is aimed at countering Lebanese forces plotting to suppress the resistance in cooperation with foreign elements - headed by Israel – and take advantage of (Assad's downfall) to annihilate Hezbollah."
About a week and a half ago Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel and the US that a war against Iran and Syria would lead to an all-out regional conflict.
"They should understand that a war on Iran and Syria will not remain in Iran and Syrian territory, but it will engulf the whole region and there is no escaping this reality,” Nasrallah said during a televised speech honoring "Martyrs' Day."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop