BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora asked several Lebanese political leaders to urge Hezbollah against involvement in the violence in Syria between rebels and regime forces, the National News Agency reported Wednesday.
“Hezbollah getting involved in the Syrian fighting, under the title of ‘jihadist duty,’ would risk the country experiencing unbearable consequences,” Siniora said in phone calls he held with a number of dignitaries.
According to the NNA, Siniora phoned President Michel Sleiman, House Speaker Nabih Berri, and a number of Shiite dignitaries, asking them to urge Hezbollah to stay away from Syria’s battle.
“Siniora asked the people he contacted to carry out initiatives that would urge Hezbollah to distance itself from Syria’s armed conflict,” the statement said.
The former PM argued that such involvement threatens co-existence in the country and could cause unprecedented sectarian tension all over the Arab world.
“Hezbollah and the Shiite community surely include wise leaders that reject such military involvement. That is why slipping into the Syrian crisis must be stopped... and [they must] let the Syrian people handle their own problems,” Siniora said.
Syrian opposition forces have repeatedly accused Hezbollah of supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad regime forces in its crackdown against rebels. According to rebels, members of Hezbollah have died in Syria’s clashes before being returned to Lebanon for burial.
The party, however, has denied such accusations. It said funerals were held recently for party elements who died performing “jihadist duty,” but has not said how or where they died.