If attacked, Ras Baalbek’s defenders can fight off rebels for a spell until help arrives. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Hikmat Samhan remembers fondly the cave of St. Nicholas nestled in the rocky hills on the borders of his Christian village.Ras Baalbek is only a few kilometers from Syria, bordered by a lawless mountain range. Its 10,000 residents are overwhelmingly Christian. It also offers a glimpse as to why many Christians in Lebanon are still allied with Hezbollah, despite, or because of, the party's intervention in the Syrian civil war against radical Syrian rebel groups.Nasrallah, who was wounded in the first rocket attack to hit the village in January, is a member of the Resistance Brigades, an armed wing that was initially created by Hezbollah to incorporate non-Shiites who wished to join in the fight against Israel.Nasrallah said his support for Hezbollah is based on two principles.In addition to the rocket attack, which wounded three, militants near the village kidnapped a man for 20 days, robbed equipment and a toolshed on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek, and in their last raid a month ago stole three pick-up trucks, a tractor and abducted seven laborers, six of whom were Muslim.When asked if the watchmen coordinate with Hezbollah, Nasrallah said they were willing to coordinate with anyone who could defend the village.
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