BEIRUT: Future Bloc MP Issam Araji reiterated Tuesday his party’s accusations that Hezbollah’s military involvement in Syria had drawn Lebanon into the open-ended “furnace" of the raging conflict next door, in allusion to recent battles in the border Qalamoun area.
Araji told Future’s Radio Asharq that “when Hezbollah entered Syria, they brought upon themselves a big problem and dragged the country to battles which we did not need.”
“In other words, Hezbollah should have stayed away from the Syrian war, because its mere involvement and that of other groups, whether on the regime’s side or with the opposition, amounts to a blunt provocation for the Syrian people,” Araji added.
Araji was commenting on weekend battles in the Qalamoun area on the Lebanese-Syrian border in which at least seven Hezbollah fighters were killed in an attempt to root out Syrian rebels.
Araji said despite previous claims of victory, the Lebanese Shiite party and Syrian regimes forces had not been able to smoke out rebel fighters from their last strongholds in the rugged mountainous region.
“The renewal of battles (in Qalamoun) shows clearly that Hezbollah and Syrian regime forces do not fully control the area and that the Syrian opposition is intent on regaining dominance in order to cut off the supply route for the regime,” Araji noted.
He charged that extremist Al-Qaeda-linked groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria were targeting Lebanon under the excuse that Hezbollah members were fighting in Syria.
According to a high-level source speaking to the Daily Star on condition of anonymity, Hezbollah started mobilizing more than 200 fighters along with medium and heavy weaponry about a week ago in a bid to eliminate pockets of resistance in the area.