Israel sees Syria as existential threat: Hezbollah chief Nasrallah

Israeli authorities believe there is an existential threat to the Tel Aviv regime from Syria, particularly in light of the presence of fighters from Hezbollah and Iranian military advisors there, the Secretary General of Lebanon’s resistance movement says.

“Israel sees Syria as a danger and the country plays a great role in the threat perception of Israeli officials. The reason behind the war in Syria had nothing to do with the incumbent government in Damascus, but rather it was because the United States could not exert dominance there,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech broadcast from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Wednesday evening.

Syria, having refused to bow down to US hegemony, lies in the heart of the Middle East region, he added.

“We knew that Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria’s war could have dire repercussions. Nevertheless, we believed that we were obliged to defend Syria and Palestine in the face of the US scheme,” Nasrallah said.

He then praised senior Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine, who was killed in an attack in Syria four years ago, for his high morale, stating that he was fighting shoulder to shoulder in Syria with the late commander of Iran’s Quds Force Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by a US terrorist strike near Baghdad International Airport on January 3.

“Martyr Badreddine was certain of the final victory, even though Syrian military forces suffered losses in the first stages of the war. Syrian people and the government have emerged victorious in the war, thanks to their resilience and steadfastness. Syria has survived the disintegration plot,” the Hezbollah chief stated.

“Hegemonic powers continue to exert political pressure, wage a psychological war and impose sanctions on Syria in light of its military victories.”

Nasrallah then dismissed “unfounded” reports of tension between Russia and Iran in Syria, saying they are part of a psychological war against Moscow and Tehran as well as their allies.

“It is perfectly natural for allies to have different estimations, but there is no conflict between the allies in Syria at all,” he underlined.

The Hezbollah head then scoffed at latest remarks by Israeli Minister of Military Affairs Naftali Bennett that the Tel Aviv regime will pursue operations in Syria until Iranian forces leave, stating that Tehran has only military advisers in Syria who train army forces and coordinate the Islamic Republic’s support for Damascus.

“Iran and Syria will continue to stand beside Syria against enemy plots. Iran has never pursued a policy of hegemony and supremacy in the region. The Islamic Republic is only supporting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity against hegemonic plots,” Nasrallah said.

He emphasized that Hezbollah fighters in Syria have started to draw down amid major territorial gains made by government forces, rejecting the allegations of Israeli officials that the drawdown is due to recent missile strikes by the regime in the war-torn Arab country.

“Israelis should realize that their authorities are telling them bald-faced lies, and that any folly committed by their commanders could plunge the region into an all-out war,” Nasrallah commented.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Hezbollah chief criticized attempts by some Arab states to normalize ties with the Israeli regime, saying, “Washington and Tel Aviv are plotting to take control of countries in the region in order to exploit their resources.”

Nasrallah also advised top Lebanese officials to restore Beirut-Damascus diplomatic relations, saying such ties would help Lebanon’s economy.

“Lebanon cannot rely entirely on the US, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Arab states for economic assistance. It needs to depend on domestic resources to resolve economic problems,” Hezbollah leader said, underling that Syria and Iraq could be consumer markets for Lebanese agricultural and industrial products.

Moreover, Nasrallah lauded the strenuous efforts made by Lebanese healthcare workers in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, calling upon all Lebanese nationals to strictly abide by measures aimed at confronting the deadly disease.

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