Hezbollah's deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem speaks during the commemoration ceremony of Hezbollah fighter Abbas Samaha in Beirut's southern suburb, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Forty days had passed since Ismail Samaha's brother was killed in action, fighting with Hezbollah against militants in Syria's Qalamoun mountains.Beyond honoring Abbas in a rare Beirut memorial for a fighter slain in Syria, it was an occasion to showcase a more defiant Hezbollah, one that has grown confident in the appeal of its message of fighting a terrorist threat and protecting Lebanon from encroachment by militants from across the border.Qassem equated the fight in Syria to the resistance in Israel, saying the party's departure from Syria would open Lebanon up to its enemies.He also sought to reassure Hezbollah's supporters, saying the party had achieved many successes in Syria, adding that it had succeeded in repelling a recent attack on the border village of Aasal al-Ward, overrunning militant outposts in the area. It was the second time Abbas, whose nom de guerre is Mahdi, had gone to Syria – he took part in the battle for Rankous, which was seized earlier this year by Hezbollah and the Syrian Army, and where car bombs were allegedly being prepared for use in Lebanon.
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