BEIRUT: Nusra Front Friday released a video of the nine policemen and soldiers they are holding captive, warning that Sunnis, Shiites and the rest of Lebanon’s sects would pay the price for Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria.
The 27-minute video posted on a YouTube channel that usually carries the radical group’s well-produced videos began by showing footage of Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah speaking about his party’s role in Syria.
The title of the video - “Who will pay the price?” - is seemingly answered by the graphic footage of dead and bloodied children and women, allegedly killed by Hezbollah fighters.
The video also showed footage of women who said they were sexually assaulted by men with Lebanese accents, accusing Hezbollah of being behind the attacks.
“They [Hezbollah fighters] killed innocent people in Arsal camps. They asked the Army for a cease-fire but rockets were fired from Labweh,” a man dressed in the Internal Security Forces uniform said as he sat in front of the Nusra flag.
Labweh, located a few kilometers away from Arsal, is a predominantly Shiite town that supports the resistance group.
“They pushed the Lebanese Army to the forefront of the battle [in Arsal], the Army lost 50 people and 50 others were kidnapped, and Nusra Front confiscated tanks and vehicles. ... We were the scapegoat.”
The Nusra Front and ISIS captured at least 30 soldiers and ISF personnel during the five-day battle with the Lebanese Army in the northeastern town of Arsal. Dozens of soldiers were killed in the clashes that erupted on Aug. 2 after an ISIS commander was arrested by the military.
The Lebanese Army has said that the battle was a systematic plan to seize the border town, which houses thousands of Syrian refugees and is known for its support for the Syrian uprising.
Nusra has so far released seven of its captured Sunni soldiers, saying it would hold on to the Shiite and Christian soldiers to exchange them with Islamist detainees held since 2007 in Roumieh Prison.
The Lebanese government has refused to agree to any swap, saying instead it would seek the help of countries that might have leverage over radical groups.
In the video, Nusra issued a warning to Sunnis, urging them to join its ranks and stand against the Lebanese Army, which the Islamist group has long accused of working with Hezbollah.
"We are one, support your people in Syria ... before you pay the price of your involvement in a war on the side of the Lebanese Army against mujahideen, or you will pay the price as those before you from the Sunni community did.”
“For the rest of the sects in Lebanon: Don't dare support Iran's party. Your silence toward their crimes will be counted against you and you will pay the price. Beware of the oppressed [man’s] anger.”
“To the Shiites: Our battle with you will go on as long as you violate the mothers [of the mujahideen] ... your support for the party will have you pay double the price.”
“To the Muslim scholars in the world: We ask you to reveal the truth about the Lebanese Army so that the Sunni community would not be confused. The next phase will be final, God willing, against those who support or belong to these crimes.”
The Nusra Front in Lebanon, an offshoot of the radical group fighting in Syria, has claimed responsibility for a number of suicide car bombings that targeted Beirut’s southern suburbs, an area that supports Hezbollah.
The video also showed what the group said was footage of Lebanese soldiers kicking and torturing Islamist detainees.