Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General said on Thursday that the Middle East is at risk of partition, ruling out a near end to the war in Syria.
During an interview with Reuters news agency, Sheikh Naim Qassem said the terrorist gunmen would be unable to topple the Assad government despite their recent gains in battle, including this week’s capture of Palmyra by the so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ takfiri group.
Hezbollah official said Assad’s allies – including Iran, Russia and Hezbollah – would back him “however long it takes”. There could be no solution to the war without Assad, and it was time for “Arabs and the world” to realize that.
Speaking at Hezbollah offices in Beirut, Sheikh Qassem said Saudi policy was to blame for regional conflicts including the most recent one in Yemen. He accused Riyadh of “double standards”, backing “takfiris” across the Middle East, while seeking to suppress them at home.
He also blamed Washington, saying it was waiting to see how things turned out instead of adopting clear policies.
“The region is today on fire, tense, without any proposed solutions. It seems this will continue for a number of years, and there is also the risk of partition in some of its countries,” said Qassem.
“The biggest danger in the plan to partition the region is for Iraq, because America is promoting this, and it seems there are some elements in Iraq that want this, but it has not matured yet,” his eminence said.
Destruction would continue in Syria because it would not submit, Qassem said. “Solutions for Syria are suspended. There is no political solution in the foreseeable period, and it is left to attrition, to the battlefield, and to wait for other developments in the region, particularly Iraq,” he highlighted.
Hezbollah deputy Secretary General said Islamic State’s capture of the ancient city of Palmyra from the army this week was part of the ebb and flow of the war in which ground lost in one area is made up in another.
“It is normal to lose in some areas and win in others,” he said. “What is happening is attack and retreat which does not change the equation neither geographically or politically.”
Sheikh Qassem made it clear that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were training, arming and funding the operating takfiri groups to try and shift the military balance by bringing together takfiri terrorist forces with US supervision.
“This shift in balance is temporary and not fundamental and does not change the equation in Syria,” he said.
Hezbollah believes its offensive against armed takfiri groups including the al-Nusra Front in the mountains between Lebanon and Syria was ongoing to protect Lebanon, targeted by suicide attacks since Syria’s war began in 2011.
“Syria’s allies are continuing in supporting Assad’s Syria until the end, regardless of how long it takes,” Sheikh Qassem stressed.
Hezbollah has been an ally to Assad in the four-year-long conflict, sending its fighters to pound the takfiri armed groups who represent a growing threat to the region.