Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah pledged on Thursday that the militant group will keep its forces in Syria as long as is necessary.
Speaking at a Shiite ceremony in the Lebanese capital of Beirut commemorating the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Nasrallah assured listeners that their "mujahedeen" will be present to confront all attacks "on this country and on this region."
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The New York Times reports:
"As long as the reasons remain, our presence there will remain," Mr. Nasrallah told thousands of his followers.
"Our fighters, our mujahedeen, are present on Syrian soil," Mr. Nasrallah declared, adding that they were in Syria also to support Lebanon and Palestinian causes, "to confront all the dangers of the international, regional and takfiri attack on this country and on this region." Takfiri refers to the extremist Sunni fighters aligned with Al Qaeda who have joined the attempt to overthrow Mr. Assad.
Nasrallah added that he would make no political deals that involved pulling out of the fight in Syria.
He also said Hezbollah, the dominant force in Lebanese politics, would not yield to demands from political rivals to pull out of Syria as a condition for resolving the impasse that has left Lebanon adrift under a caretaker government. He told his audience that he would not trade what he termed an existential fight in Syria for seats in the Lebanese cabinet.