First Published: 2013-02-20

 

Free Syrian Army threatens to hit Hezbollah positions in Lebanon

 

Syrian rebels accuse Hezbollah of firing across border into territory they control, sending combatants into Syria to fight alongside Assad forces.

 

Middle East Online

Shia-Sunna divide grows

BEIRUT - The rebel Free Syrian Army on Wednesday threatened to shell positions of the powerful Hezbollah militant group in neighbouring Lebanon after accusing it of firing across the border into territory it controls.

"In the past week... Hezbollah has been shelling into villages around Qusayr from Lebanese territory, and that we cannot accept," General Selim Idriss, the FSA's chief of staff, said on the phone, adding that the rebels have given Hezbollah a 48-hour deadline to stop the attacks.

Lebanon is sharply divided over the Syrian conflict, with the Sunni-led March 14 movement supporting the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad and the Shiite Hezbollah and its allies backing the regime.

"Hezbollah has long been sending combatants into Syria to fight alongside Bashar al-Assad's forces, and we just fight them on our territory," said Idriss.

"But what we cannot accept is that Hezbollah is abusing Lebanese sovereignty to shell Syrian territory and Free Syrian Army positions," said the rebel commander.

Specifically, he accused Hezbollah of shelling villages and rebel positions around the insurgent-held town of Qusayr, which is located in the central Syrian province of Homs.

Idriss said that Hezbollah had fired into villages around Qusayr from the border village of Zeita, a Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa valley of eastern Lebanon.

"As soon as the ultimatum ends, we will start responding to the sources of fire," he said.

While fighters in the Qusayr area would fire back, Idriss also said the FSA would "mobilise fighters equipped with long-range weapons from other areas."

On Sunday, three Lebanese Shiites were killed in clashes in Syria, a source close to Hezbollah said, as the opposition accused the militant group of fighting alongside its regime allies.

Just hours earlier, the main bloc of the Syrian opposition accused the Damascus ally of having intervened "militarily" on the side of the regime, and warned this posed a threat to ties between neighbours Syria and Lebanon.

Hezbollah has systematically denied sending fighters into Syria, though its leader Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged in October 2012 that party members had fought Syrian rebels but said they were acting as individuals and not under the group's direction.

 

New US law could sanction Hezbollah officials

ISIS-rebel clashes grip northeast Syria town

Hundreds of civilians flee Fallujah area in Iraq

Khamenei urges Iran lawmakers to resist Western 'schemes'

Turkey Muslims demand right to pray at Hagia Sophia

Iran delegation leaves Saudi Arabia without Hajj deal

Thousands of protesters gather in central Bagdad

99 lashes for partying Iranian students

100,000 Syrians trapped after shock IS advance in Aleppo

Iran sticking to nuclear deal: UN watchdog

Turkey party seeks constitutional change to boost president's powers

Turkey accuses US of 'hypocrisy' on Kurdish militia in Syria

Israel environment minister resigns from 'extremist government'

US-led coalition pounds IS near Raqa

Tunisia mulls allowing women to serve in army

US-backed fighters battle IS near Syria stronghold

Tunisia tourism sees 'slight recovery'

UN envoy calls for economic rescue plan for Yemen

Bahrain jails 19 for attacks on police

Up to 30 dead in shipwreck off Libya

UN says Syrians will 'starve' unless aid improves

Christian homes set ablaze in Egyptian village 'love story'

Kuwait's main opposition group ends polls boycott

Twin offensives on IS edge forward in Syria, Iraq

Private firms to help in hunt for Egyptair black boxes

New Israeli defence minister's tough talk to be put to the test

Syria most dangerous place for health workers

Concern for civilians trapped in Iraq's Fallujah

Brent rises past $50 a barrel

Iraq PM urges protesters to stay home

Juncker warns Ankara against migrant deal threats

Israeli air force carries out strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza

Annual Jewish pilgrimage starts in Tunisia

Sudan accuses UN official of 'false' reports on displaced

Egypt quashes prison sentences for 47 protesters

At least 5 drown off Libya coast

Coalition airstrike kills six Yemen civilians 'by mistake'

Erdogan chairs first meeting of new Turkey cabinet

Pope prays to 'convert hearts' of ISIS extremists

Egypt expels French journalist amid crackdown on media

Israeli rights group gives up on army complaints system

Hamas-led council backs executions without Abbas approval

Netanyahu forms ultra-nationalist Israel government

Major assaults target IS jihadists in Iraq, Syria

Yemen warring parties 'closer' to agreement