BEIRUT: Hezbollah stepped up its rhetoric against radical Islamist groups Friday, saying their war on Syrian President Bashar Assad is also against Lebanon's resistance.
"Those targeting the resistance and preventing supplies reaching it are practicing an act of aggression against Lebanon, based on the view of Takfiri terrorism which complements Zionist schemes aimed at provoking sectarian strife,” the head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc Mohammad Raad said in a remarks that referred to the Islamists as apostates.
He was apparently referring to Islamist opposition groups including Jabhat al-Nusra, the radical lslamist Syrian rebel group which has repeatedly warned Lebanon over Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syria civil war.
Raad said their involvement in the Syrian conflict plays into the hands of Western plans for the region.
"Their problem is with the people of this region – Sunnis, Shiites and Christians and even Salafists,” Raad said.
“They do not have a political project, but they are pawns and tools of a Western conspiracy that aims to weaken the region and subdue the will of its people," he added.
Raad, however, warned the radical Islamist rebels against picking a fight with Hezbollah.
“They won’t be able to achieve their goals, and the resistance will remain vigilant and respond to this dubious scheme."
A number of recent reports have claimed to show Hezbollah engaged in battles with rebel groups in the Syrian border town of al-Qusair that have intensified in recent days.
Hezbollah's leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah acknowledged his group is helping Shiite Lebanese defend themselves against rebel attacks and described their training and arming as a moral and national duty.
Politicians and lawmakers with the March 14 coalition have said that Hezbollah’s involvement is a clear violation of the government’s policy of disassociation.