On June 8, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah vowed to keep his forces in Syria as long as Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad wants it there. Nasrallah also warned that Hezbollah will not withdraw from Syria in any other way, even if the world unites against it.
“We’ll be present in Syria for as long as we’re wanted there, as long as the Syrian leadership needs us in the field … Even if the entire world unites to take us out of Syria – we won’t leave. We won’t leave until the Syrian leadership tells us,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech marking the international Quds Day, according to the Israeli Ynet News.
During his speech, Nasrallah stressed that his party entered Syria in the first place to confront “a major conspiracy targeted against Syria’s people.” Hezbollah leader also called on Israel and its allies to admit that they had failed to overthrow the Syrian president and his government.
“You Zionists have to admit that you have been defeated in Syria and that you have failed to topple the pillar of the resistance … I also tell the entire axis that fought in Syria to acknowledge its defeat,” the Israeli Arutz Sheva radio station quoted Nasrallah as saying during his speech.
Earlier this week, several reports claimed that Hezbollah had withdrawn from the strategic town of al-Qusayr in the southwestern Homs countryside as a result of the Russian pressure. Later, officials in the “resistance axis” told Reuters that these claims were baseless.
Israel and the US increased their pressure on Iranian forces and Hezbollah during the last few months in attempt to push them out of Syria. However, Syrian observers doubt that this will happen any time soon, as several radical groups are still present in the southern part of the war torn country, including ISIS. These groups pose a direct threat to Lebanon and its Shia community. This is another reason of Hezbollah’s involvement into the conflict.