Syrian Rebels Give Hizballah Ultimatum
by John Rossomando • Feb 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm
Rebels have given Hizballah a 48-hour ultimatum to cease its operations in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad's regime or face attacks on its forces in southern Lebanon.
The ultimatum found on the Free Syrian Army's (FSA) Facebook page warns that it will attack Hizballah in Lebanon if it does not stop shelling FSA targets in Syria. "[W]e will respond to the sources of fire by our hands and eliminate it from inside the Lebanese lands," the Facebook post said.
Gen. Selim Idriss, chief of staff of the rebel Free Syrian Army, denounced Hizballah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah as a "criminal" and called on the Lebanese people to "regain their state that has been taken over by the terrorist Hizballah gang."
"Hezbollah is abusing Lebanese sovereignty to shell Syrian territory and Free Syrian Army positions," Idriss told Agence France Presse. "In the past week... Hezbollah has been shelling into villages around Qusayr from Lebanese territory, and that we cannot accept."
The FSA warned that it would bombard Hizballah in several areas inside Lebanon.
Lebanon's government remains divided over the Syrian conflict, with the Sunni-led government identifying with the FSA and Hizballah siding with Assad.
A Hizballah official claimed that Shiite fighters who were killed last weekend in Syria were acting in "self defense" without admitting they were members of the terrorist group.
Hizballah has routinely denied sending its fighters into Syria to fight for Assad; however, Nasrallah acknowledged in October that Hizballah members had fought Syrian rebels on their own and not at the group's direction.
Nasrallah claimed the Hizballah members were killed while defending Lebanese-inhabited border towns inside of Syria.
"The residents of these towns took the decision to stay and defend themselves against the armed groups and did not engage in battle between the regime and the opposition," Nasrallah said.