Nasrallah Says Hizbullah in Syria to Defend Lebanon, Rejects March 14 Conditions

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made on Thursday a public appearance for the second day in a row, describing the conditions set by the March 14 alliance as “crippling” and saying his party was fighting in Syria in defense of Lebanon.

The conditions imposed by the March 14 alliance for the formation of the new government are “crippling,” Nasrallah said.

Hizbullah fighters are in the neighboring country “to defend Lebanon, Palestine and Syria,” he said at a massive Ashura ceremony held in the Rweiss neighborhood of Beirut's southern suburbs.

His public appearance came a day after he made a similar speech, urging followers to participate in the Ashura despite "security threats. Nasrallah normally appears via video link for fear of assassination by Israel.

Thursday's ceremony came amid tight security, including a ban on vehicles in the area, following huge bombings last summer that killed and wounded hundreds of people.

Describing Syria as the protector of the resistance, Nasrallah said: “As long as the reasons stand, our presence in Syria remains.”

“Those talking about Hizbullah's pullout from Syria as a condition for the formation of a cabinet are imposing a crippling condition,” said Nasrallah, standing on the podium and surrounded by bodyguards.

“When there are strategic dangers that are threatening the people and the governments of the region ... there couldn't be a condition for partnership in the cabinet,” he said.

"We won't negotiate on the existence of Syria (in exchange for) a handful of ministries."

Nasrallah urged March 14 to be more pragmatic and put its conditions aside.

“We don't need your cover for our presence in Syria neither today nor in the future,” he said, a day after al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri said the alliance will not be under any circumstance a partner in a political process that gives Hizbullah a cover to its participation in the Syrian war.

In his speech, Nasrallah stressed that the disarmament of resistance groups come only after the abolition of the enemy.

“The enemy facing Lebanon is still there. It is threatening us and spying on us … It is also preparing for war,” he told his supporters in reference to Israel.

“As long as the enemy threatens us, the resistance will remain to confront this threat,” he said in a challenge to the March 14 alliance which has repeatedly called for the party's disarmament.

“No one whatever the circumstances should give up on the cause of Palestine,” he said.

He urged all Muslims to stand by the Palestinian people and extend a helping hand.

Nasrallah called for dialogue, wisdom and political solutions in the Arab countries.

The Hizbullah leader turned to the threat posed by Takfiri groups, saying they target both Muslims and Christians.

“The collaboration of everyone can abolish them,” he said.

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