Nasrallah warns against Syria partition
BEIRUT - War-torn Syria is threatened with "schemes of division and partition", the head of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, said in a televised speech on Thursday.
"We fundamentally and ideologically reject any form of partition or division of any Arab or Islamic country and call for them to preserve their unity," said Nasrallah, whose Shiite militant group is a longstanding ally of the Damascus government of President Bashar al-Assad.
"From Yemen to Iraq to Syria, the region is threatened more than ever by partition, even in Egypt and Libya and Saudi Arabia.
"We in Lebanon and in the region are living through one of the most important and dangerous phases, an atmosphere of strife."
Nasrallah said that Western and Arab governments which have recognised the armed opposition were responsible for the flood of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, who now number more than 125,000, according to the United Nations.
"The people who bear responsibility for the continuation of their displacement are the same ones responsible for the bloodshed that is inhibiting Syrians from reaching a political dialogue or settlement," he said.
"If a military solution continues, there will be a long war," he warned, calling on the Lebanese government to take a stand.
"Lebanon cannot bear the social, humanitarian and political costs" of inaction, he said.
Nasrallah called on the government to dispatch an envoy to Turkey to open direct negotiations with the kidnappers of Lebanese hostages held in Syria.
"Right now we are speaking with the Turks and this will not yield the same results," he said.
A group of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims were kidnapped on May 22 in the northern province of Aleppo, while on their way from Iran. Only two of them have been released.
Several Lebanese leaders have travelled to Ankara to ask the Turkish authorities to intervene with the captors.