BEIRUT: Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri accused Hezbollah Thursday of fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces against rebels, while strongly denying the party’s charges that his Future Movement was involved in the 19-month-old bloody conflict in Syria.
“The Lebanese -- Shiites, Sunnis and Christians -- know very well, even from the mouths of senior Hezbollah officials, the nature of [the party’s] involvement in what it alleged to be ‘a jihadi duty’ alongside the machine of killings, repression, crackdown and subjugation facing the Syrian people,” a statement released by Hariri's media office.
“There is no longer anything that can help to cover up this clear crime committed by Hezbollah first against Lebanon before Syria, especially it is fully aware that the days of its ally in Damascus are numbered,” it added.
Hariri was apparently responding to Hezbollah’s deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem who has accused the Future Movement of intervening in the Syrian conflict by sending money and arms to anti-regime rebels fighting to oust Assad.
Hariri also rejected accusations by Hezbollah MPs and its media outlets that Future MP Okab Saqr was involved in the Syrian conflict by aiding armed Syrian opposition groups.
“MP Okab Saqr has been assigned by [former] Prime Minister Saad Hariri to follow up the situation in Syria and coordinate with Syrian opposition political parties concerning the Future Movement’s media and political support for the Syrian people in facing the killing machine directed by the criminal Syrian regime and its regional allies,” the statement said. It added that Saqr, who has been living out of Lebanon for 18 months, was tasked with ensuring humanitarian assistance to the victims of the war in Syria, including the wounded, displaced and orphans.
Saqr was also tasked with making contacts with Turkish authorities as part of efforts to secure the release of Lebanese held in Syria, in addition to helping some Lebanese journalists doing their jobs there, the statement said.
It lashed out at the Lebanese government’s disassociation policy on developments in Syria.
“It is up to the Lebanese people to judge the Lebanese government that has distanced itself from the blood of the Syrian people after it was formed by Hezbollah which controls its decision-making,” the statement said.
It added that while the government has adhered to a disassociation policy, “Hezbollah has upheld the jihad duty against the Syrian people.”