Free Syrian Army Rejects Lebanon Salafists' Jihad Callإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Syria's main rebel Free Syrian Army on Wednesday rejected calls for jihad (holy war) by Lebanese Islamist clerics.
"Our official position as the Supreme Military Command of the Free Syrian Army... is that we thank them but we reject any calls for jihad in Syria," FSA political and media coordinator Louay Muqdad told Agence France Presse.
"We reject any presence of foreign fighters, regardless of where they are from. We have said that what we are missing in Syria is weapons, not men," he added.
Thousands of foreign fighters have joined Syrian rebels pitted against the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Lebanese Salafist clerics Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir and Sheikh Salem al-Rafehi have called on their followers to join rebels fighting in Syria and to support Sunni residents of the embattled central province of Homs.
Their calls come after Syria's opposition and a monitoring group accused Hizbullah of fighting in Homs alongside troops loyal to Assad's regime.
In a speech on Monday, Asir announced the establishment of "Free Resistance Brigades" in Sidon, the southern city where he is based.
"There is a religious duty on every Muslim who is able to do so... to enter into Syria in order to defend its people, its mosques and religious shrines, especially in Qusayr and Homs," he told supporters.
Much of the heaviest fighting has raged near the Lebanese border around al-Qusayr, where activists said government troops backed by gunmen linked to Hizbullah captured the villages of Radwineyeh and Tel al-Nabi Mando.
Since it began in March 2011, Syria's conflict has fueled local tensions between the communities in Lebanon, with bouts of street fighting and kidnappings.
Hizbullah denies taking part in the civil war. But top Hizbullah official Sheikh Nabil Qaouq said Monday that his group is "performing a national duty" toward Lebanese Shiites living in Syrian border towns and villages by supporting the "popular committees."