Further Hezbollah victories in the Battle of Qalamoun: Nasrallah speech, May 16th – The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Hezbollah remains in the heart of the battle for Syria’s border Qalamoun region, party chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Saturday, revealing that 13 Hezbollah fighters have been killed since the offensive began nearly two weeks ago.
Hezbollah, along with the Syrian army and popular mobilization units, have reached several achievements since the offensive launched, including the seizure of illegal crossing used to smuggle explosives between Lebanon and Syria.
Jihadi militants have also been ousted from several strategic locations, allowing Hezbollah and its allies to link Lebanon’s eastern towns to adjacent Syrian villages, Nasrallah said.
He also noted that the seizure of jihadi posts in Qalamoun from jihadis has helped secure the Damascus-Homs highway and Lebanese border towns, recalling the hundreds of rockets fired by Syrian rebels into Lebanon over the past several years.
“I am not talking about full security, because militants are still present on the outskirts of Arsal,” he added.
“As long as they are still on Arsal’s outskirts and the remaining part of Qalamoun, then I can’t talk about complete security.”
He said Hezbollah has lost 13 fighters since the beginning of the offensive, while Syrian Army and Syrian popular mobilization units lost seven.
Nasrallah said that the residents of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, especially citizens of Baalbek and Hermel, will not tolerate any military presence on the outskirts of their towns and villages.
If the state does not assume its responsibility toward these people, Nasrallah added, Bekaa residents will assume their responsibility and protect themselves.
“It is our right and the rights of the citizens of Baalbek and Hermel to look ahead to a day where there is no longer a single militant on Lebanon’s outskirts.”
Nasrallah also dismissed rumors that Hezbollah was trying to get the Lebanese Army involved in the Qalamoun battle.
The resistance appreciates and respects the Lebanese Army and its leadership, and is keen on keeping it out any conflict in Qalamoun, he said.