Connect with us

World

Phuket Gazette World News: Syria’s Assad secure, will seek re-election, says Hezbollah leader

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Syria’s Assad secure, will seek re-election, says Hezbollah leader
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will stand for re-election this year and no longer faces a threat of being overthrown, the head of his Lebanese Shi’ite ally Hezbollah said in an interview published on Monday.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, whose fighters have been supporting Assad inside Syria, also said that after three years of conflict the danger of the country fragmenting was receding.

Assad has lost control of large swathes of northern and eastern Syria to Syrian Islamist rebels and foreign jihadis. But his forces, backed by Hezbollah, Iraqi Shi’ite Muslim fighters and Iranian military commanders, have driven rebels back from around Damascus and secured most of central Syria.

“In my estimation, the phase of overthrowing the regime and overthrowing the state is over,” Nasrallah told Al-Safir newspaper, adding that he believed Assad would put himself forward for a third presidential term in a vote due by July.

“It’s natural that he nominates himself, and I believe that will happen,” Nasrallah said of the planned vote expected to take place despite ongoing conflict and massive displacement within Syria. Assad’s international foes have said the poll would be a “parody of democracy”.

Rebels “cannot overthrow the regime (but) they can wage a war of attrition,” Nasrallah said. “The real danger was, and still is to a certain extent, the end of Syria, its fragmentation. The danger was real and serious… I think we have passed the danger of fragmentation.”

More than 150,000 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group. A third of those were pro-Assad forces, including 364 Hezbollah fighters, it said.

Nasrallah dismissed rebel gains over the last two weeks in the coastal province of Latakia – a stronghold of Assad’s minority Alawite faith where rebels have seized the Kasab border crossing – as little more than a distraction.

“We can’t call what is happening in Latakia and Kasab a big battle … it’s a limited operation,” he said, adding that talk of a big rebel offensive in the southern province of Deraa on the Jordanian border had also been overstated.

As the military threat against Assad eased, so too would the political pressure “starting with Saudi Arabia and Qatar”, Nasrallah said, pointing to two Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab states who have backed the mainly Sunni rebels battling Assad.

“I’m not saying they have changed their positions, but the strength of their stances, the level of their intervention and the hopes that they had, have changed a lot,” he said – in contrast to what he described as the unflinching support Assad enjoyed from his own allies.

Syria war fuels tensions

Shi’ite Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria, alongside the flow of Sunni fighters and weapons from Lebanon to support the rebels, has fuelled sectarian tensions inside Lebanon.

Radical Sunni groups have claimed responsibility for car bombs which targeted the southern Beirut suburbs where Hezbollah holds sway, and rockets have also struck Shi’ite and Sunni towns in the Bekaa Valley.

Lebanese Sunni politicians have criticised Hezbollah, which was set up three decades ago to fight Israeli occupation forces in the south of the country, for wading into an Arab conflict.

But Nasrallah denied that his group’s military role in Syria was losing it popularity, saying its campaign against Syrian rebels near the Lebanese border was helping reduce the risk of bombings inside Lebanon.

Even some members of Lebanon’s anti-Hezbollah March 14 coalition tacitly supported the group’s actions, he said.

“There is a strong popular mood which supports Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria. Many Lebanese, even within March 14, deep down they believe and accept that intervention in Syria protects Lebanon from these terrorist groups.”

Nasrallah also said Hezbollah was responsible for a bombing of an Israeli border patrol in March, saying the attack was in response to an Israeli air strike against a Hezbollah target on the Syrian-Lebanese border a month earlier.

“The Shebaa Farms bomb … was the work of the resistance, the work of Hezbollah,” he said. “The is not the (full) response, but part of the response to the Israeli raid.”

He appeared to be referring to a March 14 incident when Israel’s military said an explosive device was detonated against Israeli soldiers patrolling the border with Lebanon. Israel shot six mortars into southern Lebanon in response, but no one was wounded on either side, security and military sources said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 mins ago

5.7% of foreign residents in Thailand have received a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine

Travel35 mins ago

Top 5 Diving Schools in Koh Samui

Lifestyle48 mins ago

Best Places for Golf in Koh Samui

Sponsored1 day ago

Tour Phuket’s Islands with 5 Star Marine

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Crime1 hour ago

Child pornography group run by Suphan Buri couple busted

Thailand2 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok restrictions extended, record high infections | August 5

Thailand2 hours ago

Drugs found inside monk’s pillow at Suvarnabhumi Airport

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand3 hours ago

Fairy Sweet Village in Pattaya catches on fire, again

Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: 20,920 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand5 hours ago

Phuket’s BigGym allegedly closes 2 branches for good, doesn’t reimburse members

Travel5 hours ago

Phuket’s 5 most stunning villas for rent

News6 hours ago

USA tentatively plans to require all foreign visitors to be vaccinated

Thailand7 hours ago

Bangkok closure order extended until August 31

Best of7 hours ago

Ayutthaya’s 5 most amazing hotels

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Nonthaburi field hospital adds an ICU

Coronavirus Vaccines7 hours ago

Older volunteers wanted for trials of Chulalongkorn University mRNA vaccine

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending