Sheikh Naim Qassem
Photo: Reuters
Photo: AP
Funeral of Hezbollah fighter killed in battle with Syrian rebels
Photo: AP

Hezbollah No. 2: Assad serious about Golan front

Sheikh Naim Qassem addresses possibility that Syrian conflict will develop into fighting in Golan Heights, says 'if needed we are willing to help.' As for Israeli response, 'we have the power to deal with any foolish act on Israel's part,' he clarifies

After the stray bullets from Syria turned into intentional fire, and while Israel is increasing its alert level, Hezbollah's deputy leader appears to be fanning the flames.


"Opening the Golan front is a serious matter on the part of the Syrian president, and what is left is the performance on the practical level," Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem said Friday in an interview to Lebanese channel al-Mayadeen, which is affiliated with the Shiite group.


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"Syria has its own abilities, but if needed we are willing to help," he clarified.


"Syria is the one which must open the Golan front," Qassem added. "It does not need us in the picture because it has its own abilities," he said, but clarified that his organization was willing to help Damascus if asked.


"And it is none of our business whether (Hezbollah's help) will serve as a provocation against Israel or not. If Israel is convinced that it needs a war and achievement, it will make that decision. We have the power to deal with any foolish act on Israel's part."


Earlier Friday, the United States expressed "deep concern" about the situation in Lebanon, warning that Hezbollah leaders’ decision to escalate the group’s role in the fighting in Syria "violates and undermines Lebanon’s dissociation policy and risks dragging Lebanon into a foreign conflict."


US President Barack Obama harshly criticized Hezbollah's activity in a speech he delivered Thursday about his government's policy on the war on global terror.


Several days ago, Obama spoke to his Lebanese counterpart Michel Suleiman and encouraged him to maintain Lebanon's independent, promising American aid to fulfill that independence.


On Friday, Suleiman called on Hezbollah to be cautious in its massive involvement in the fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces in Damascus, saying the powerful Shiite group might get bogged down in the Syrian conflict.


"Resistance is important," Suleiman said, referring to Hezbollah's struggle against Israel, "but Hezbollah must not get bogged down in Syria."


Yitzhak Benhorin in Washington contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 05.25.13, 00:46
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