BEIRUT: Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah renewed his support Wednesday for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and called on Syrians to move swiftly to a stage of dialogue.
“We renew our call for the protection of Syria, its people and army and the only solution is through the acceptance of dialogue and that this done swiftly,” Nasrallah said.
Nasrallah, Assad’s strongest supporter in Lebanon, also offered his condolences over the recent killing of three Syrian generals in a suicide attack in Damascus and said such “acts serve only the interests of the enemy [Israel].”
A suicide bombing in the Syrian capital claimed the lives of Assad’s brother-in-law, his defense minister and a former defense minister, in the boldest attack in the 16-month revolt against Assad’s regime.
Other security officials were wounded in the attack, which the Free Syrian Army and a rebel Islamist group separately claimed responsibility for.
Nasrallah praised the Syrian military generals, describing them as “comrades in arms to the resistance and comrades in the [struggle] against the enemy.”
He said the unrest in Lebanon’s neighbor comforted the Jewish state.
“Israel is happy today because there are pillars in the Syrian army that have been targeted and killed,” he said.
Nasrallah said Israel’s objective was for Syria to remain without a capable army.
He voiced confidence that the Syrian army would persevere.
“We are confident that the Syrian army, which has had to cope with the intolerable, has the ability, determination and consistency to continue,” he said.
The Hezbollah chief placed the Syrian crisis within the context of what he described as a long-term policy by the U.S. and Israel to strip Arab states of real military capabilities.
“They just want a police,” he said, noting that one of the U.S. military’s first acts in Iraq following the conquest of Baghdad was to disband the military.
He said this plan served only to protect Israel at all costs.
Nasrallah, who spoke on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the July-August 2006 war, said that the victory by the resistance in the 33-day conflict had thwarted attempts to topple Assad.
He said Lebanon was just the first stage of a U.S.-Israeli project aimed, ultimately, at removing the regime in Syria, which Israel feared.
Nasrallah said Syria had shifted its military strategy over the past 10 years to render it capable of confronting Israel.
Discussing the 2006 conflict, Nasrallah said the resistance group had managed to uncover details of Israel’s plans to strike missile sites before hand, thus allowing Hezbollah to relocate its weapons.
He also warned the Jewish state of “surprises” should it attempt to launch a future war against Lebanon.