Hezbollah voices support for Syria's Assad

AFP, Monday 18 Apr 2011

Hezbollah, Syrian regime's strong ally, announces its absolute support for the President Bashar al-Assad

A burned car is seen in the Syrian port city of Banias (Reuters)

Hezbollah on Monday expressed its firm support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, as Assad faces unprecedented protests demanding the end of nearly 50 years of emergency rule.

"Today, we stand yet again by our sister Syria ... and by Syria's leaders who have refused to give into pressure or ... to conspire against the resistance," said Hezbollah MP Nawwaf Moussawi, in reference to the Shiite militant group.

"We are certain Syria will overcome this passing phase," he added.

"There is no stability in Lebanon without stability in Syria, no security in Lebanon without security in Syria."

Moussawi's spoke at a press conference entitled "In solidarity with Syria against the American-Zionist-Western plot to undermine its national, pan-Arab and resistance role," attended by pro-Syrian Lebanese politicians of all faiths.

Along with Iran, Syria is a major backer of Lebanon's Hezbollah and has faced accusations by Washington of smuggling arms to the group.

On Friday, Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdel Karim Ali warned that "any harm done to Syria will also harm Lebanon with the same magnitude or even more" -- a statement

that provoked the ire of the pro-Western camp in Lebanon rival to Hezbollah. Acting prime minister Saad Hariri's US- and Saudi-backed camp denounced Ali's statement as a "veiled threat."

Damascus has accused Lebanese parties including MP Jamal Jarrah, of Hariri's Sunni Future Movement, of funding and arming mainly Sunni protesters in cities across Syria.Jarrah has denied the allegations.

Damascus pulled its troops from Lebanon under massive international pressure following the 2005 assassination of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri, Saad's father, after a 29-year deployment.

Protests demanding the end of 48 years of emergency rule and sweeping reforms broke out in Syria on March 14.

Rights groups accuse Syrian authorities of using deadly force against protesters, while Syrian authorities have accused "armed gangs" of attempting to incite unrest.

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