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Report: Hizbullah to Suspend Syria Operations after Taking Zabadani

Hizbullah will suspend its military operations in Syria after securing the Damascus suburb of Zabadani “from which rockets are being fired on Shiite villages in Baalbek and Hermel,” the Central News Agency reported on Saturday.

“After the operations officially ended in Qusayr, Hizbullah is about to finish the Zabadani battle, from which rockets are still being fired on Baalbek and Sarein,” the agency quoted prominent high-ranking sources close to Hizbullah as saying.

Zabadani is a city in the Damascus governorate, close to the border with Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.

“The party's leadership has informed the allies and friends that the mission of protecting the Lebanese in Syria and towns inside Lebanon from any attack is almost accomplished,” the sources said.

“It is not in the party's interest to engage in a war in Syria's heart (against rebels) as the Syrian army is capable of winning it,” the sources added.

Around 10 rockets and mortar rounds from Syria slammed into the northeastern city of Baalbek on Wednesday night, injuring a Lebanese man and causing material damage.

Last week, around 18 rockets targeted the Baalbek region. Over the past weeks, Syrian rebels have also fired dozens of rockets on the northeastern region of Hermel, across the border from Qusayr.

Syrian regime forces backed by elite Hizbullah fighters on Wednesday managed to recapture the strategic town of Qusayr near Lebanon's border from rebel hands following a fierce assault.

And on Saturday the Eastern Bweida village, the last rebel bastion in the area, was seized by Syrian forces, bringing the entire Qusayr region near the border with Lebanon back under regime control.

Only 10 kilometers from Lebanon, Qusayr is strategic for the regime and Hizbullah because of its proximity to the border and because it lies on a route linking Damascus to the the regime's bastion on the Syrian coast.

For the rebels, it was an important conduit from Lebanon for men and weapons.

The sources close to Hizbullah also downplayed remarks by the rebel Free Syrian Army and the jihadist al-Nusra Front, who had threatened to retaliate against the party in its strongholds in Dahiyeh and southern Lebanon, describing them as “mere media soap bubbles aimed at raising morale.”

The sources advised the rebels to “focus on the battles in the Syrian interior, where regions have started falling one after another.”

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah had previously justified the group's involvement in Syria by saying they were defending Lebanese-inhabited border villages inside Syria and Shiite holy sites in the Damascus province.

But during a May 25 speech marking the 13th anniversary of Israel's military withdrawal from Lebanon, Nasrallah said the hardline Takfiris are the “most prevailing group in the Syrian opposition,” warning against a defeat against them in the ongoing war in Syria.

He said: “If Syria falls in the hands of the Takfiris and the United States, the resistance will become under a siege and Israel will enter Lebanon. If Syria falls, the Palestinian cause will be lost.”


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