Hamas Urges Hizbullah to Pull Fighters Out of Syria

Hamas on Monday urged Hizbullah to withdraw its fighters from Syria, saying its involvement in that war is contributing to the "sectarian polarization" of the region.

Hizbullah should focus its efforts on fighting its arch-enemy Israel, said the Islamist Palestinian movement in a statement released in the Gaza Strip.

"We ask Hizbullah to withdraw its forces from Syria and to keep their weapons pointed at the Zionist enemy, namely because their involvement in Syria has contributed to an increase of sectarian polarization in the region," the statement said.

The Syria war has triggered sectarian tensions in Arab countries, including in Lebanon between supporters and opponents of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Hizbullah, a Muslim Shiite movement and long-time ally of Assad's government, has been increasingly involved in the Syrian conflict now its third year, with fighters battling alongside the Syrian army against the mostly Sunni Muslim rebel fighters.

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech on Friday that his fighters, who helped Assad's army recapture the strategic town of Qusayr near Lebanon's border, a former rebel stronghold, will stay involved in the Syrian conflict.

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 southern Lebanon, Nasrallah 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.”

Source: Agence France Presse

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