On September 19, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that some of the Israeli airstrikes on Syria were aimed at preventing the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) from acquiring advanced ballistic missile capabilities. Nasrallah also stressed that Damascus and its allies should work to put an end to Israel’s attacks.
“Israel lies when it says that the purpose of the attack was weapons intended for Hezbollah. The Israeli aggression in Syria is intolerable and must be stopped immediately,” Nasrallah said during a televised speech to mark the Muslim holyday of Ashura, according to the Israeli Jerusalem Post.
Furthermore, Nasrallah revealed that Israel had failed to stop weapons shipments to Hezbollah and confirmed that the group now has “accurate” rockets. Nasrallah noted that this changed the balance of power between Hezbollah and Israel.
“All your attempts to prevent Hezbollah from possessing accurate missiles are foiled … We have accurate missiles that if used in any future war will change the entire equation,” said Nasrallah.
Regarding the military presence of Hezbollah in Syria, Nasrallah said that the Lebanese group will keep its military presence in the country until further notice. Previously, officials of Hezbollah said that the group would only withdraw from Syria upon request from the Damascus government.
“We will stay there (in Syria) even after the settlement in Idlib. Our presence there is linked to the need and the consent of the Syrian leadership … The quietness of the fronts and less number of threats will naturally affect the current numbers (of Hezbollah fighters),” the Reuters news agency quoted Nasrallah as saying.
Israel carried out a series of airstrikes on positions of the SAA, Hezbollah and Iranian forces inside Syria over the last few months. While Israeli officials claim that they are trying to stop weapons shipments to Hezbollah, local observers believe that Israel is also attempting to pressure Damascus to give up on its allies.