FSA: Hizbullah Preparing to Send 5,000 Fighters to Homsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The joint command of the rebel Free Syrian Army on Tuesday accused Hizbullah of “preparing to send between 4,000-5,000 fighters to Syria via Homs over the next few days.”
“On Sunday evening, Hizbullah trained its members in the Western Bekaa area near the Lebanese town of Mashghara, in preparation for sending a new batch of fighters to Syria,” the joint command said in a statement.
The FSA accused the Lebanese party of “setting up monitoring positions and deployment centers, some of them near the eight Syrian border towns occupied by the party, with the aim of providing protection and controlling the international highway connecting Damascus, Homs and the (Syrian) coast.”
The rebel group charged that “over the past three months, Hizbullah staged operations of sectarian cleansing in several border towns, especially Jousiyyeh, while dozens of houses were torched and thousands of residents were expelled.”
The joint command warned that “the future of the neighborly and brotherly relations with Lebanon is in danger and all options will be on the table if the blatant aggression against Syrian territory and citizens does not stop.”
The FSA stressed that “today, the problem is with the Lebanese state, not only with Hizbullah, and it has gone beyond that to become an Arab, regional and international issues.”
“We will deal with it within this framework,” the statement added.
The Syrian opposition has accused Hizbullah of intervening "militarily" on the side of the Syrian regime.
Hizbullah has systematically denied sending fighters into Syria, though its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged in October 2012 that party members had fought Syrian rebels but said they were acting as individuals and not under the group's direction.
Nasrallah clarified that Hizbullah fighters have been killed while defending Lebanese-inhabited border towns inside Syria. He explained that there are 23 Syrian border towns and 12 farms that are inhabited by Lebanese residents of various religious beliefs, adding that around 30,000 Lebanese residents live in these towns.
“The residents of these towns took the decision to stay and defend themselves against the armed groups and did not engage in the battle between the regime and the opposition,” Hizbullah's leader added.
Louay al-Meqdad, spokesman for the Supreme Council of the Free Syrian Army, has accused Hizbullah of shelling Syrian territory with artillery and rocket launchers from bases inside Lebanon.
FSA chief of staff General Selim Idriss has threatened to shell positions of Hizbullah in Lebanon.
"Hizbullah has been shelling into villages around Qusayr from Lebanese territory, and that we cannot accept," Idriss told Agence France Presse.