Al Arabiya published a video Thursday morning allegedly documenting Hezbollah fighters in Syria executing anti-regime rebels who were wounded and taken captive during the civil war currently ravaging the country.
Hezbollah men execute rebels in Qusair. June 2013 (Video: Youtube) (youtube)
According to the report, the video was shot last June after forces loyal to embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad and aided by Hezbollah fighters recaptured the strategic town of Qusair, not far from the Homs and the Lebanese border.
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During the battle for Qusair last summer, the first recorded cases of Hezbollah's involvement in favor of the regime were recorded.
The battle was preceded by an announcement by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah who said he would not allow rebel forces to take control of towns and villages along the Syrian side of the Lebanese border.
The video's publication came a few days after a report by the London Times that Hezbollah has begun withdrawing some of its troops in Syria, citing diplomatic and intelligence sources in Beirut.
“There were close to 10,000 fighters in Syria but it’s less than that now, a few thousand,” a senior diplomatic source was quoted as saying. Sources close to Hezbollah denied that the decision stemmed from political pressure by the Lebanese's government, and claimed it was due to tactical considerations.
The video's publication has reignited tensions between Lebanese Shiites – to which Hezbollah is religiously affiliated – and Sunnis – which have thrown their support behind rebels. The Lebanese journalist Luqman Salim said the video was additional proof that "Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian conflict has less to do with Allah and more to do with Iran and its interests."
On the other hand, Lebanese political analyst Kasim Qasir defended Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian infighting by claiming that the terrorist Shiites were protecting Lebanon from the ramifications of the Syrian conflict. According to him, Hezbollah has joined the Syrian people in battling "radical forces."
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