BAALBEK, Lebanon: Prominent figures in Baalbek-Hermel urged Hezbollah Sunday to stop fighting in Syria, saying this would impact negatively on Syrians and Lebanese. “We call on [Hezbollah] to not interfere. ... Opening a front against the Syrian people and dragging Lebanon to war with the Syrian people is very dangerous and will have a negative impact on the relations between the two,” said a statement issued by the Consultative Gathering. The group is made up of leading Sunni and Shiite figures, and includes an ex-mayor of Baalbek. “We wish that Hezbollah’s rifle will remain aimed at the Israeli enemy in the south, which has hostile intentions against all of us, rather than aiming to the north.”
Security sources said earlier this month that three Hezbollah fighters were killed and a number of others wounded in clashes with the rebel Free Syrian Army in the Syrian region of AlQusair. Hezbollah argues that Lebanese residents of villages in Al-Qusair are defending themselves against attacks.
“All of the pretexts offered by Hezbollah do not justify his interference in internal Syrian affairs,” said the statement.
Hezbollah official Sheikh Mohammad Yazbek said his party would not abandon Lebanese in Al-Qusair, asking why the state wasn’t protecting them.
Separately, Louay Meqdad, FSA spokesperson, denied in comments to El-Nashra that his group had threatened to assassinate Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 25, 2013, on page 3.