Multiple targets on both sides.
BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of the militant Hezbollah group said Sunday that the region is facing “unprecedented danger” from extremist groups and vowed his fighters will expand their involvement in Syria’s civil war in support of government forces.
Sheik Hassan Nasrallah spoke during a ceremony marking the 15th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon, vowing to battle Sunni extremists groups such as the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. He said such factions are an “existential threat” to anyone who does not agree with their ideology.
Hezbollah openly joined President Bashar Assad forces in the civil war in 2013 and its fighters have been taking part in a major battle in recent weeks against jihadis in the Qalamoun mountain region that borders Lebanon.
“Our presence will grow whenever it is required for us to be present,” Nasrallah said in comments that came after Assad’s forces suffered several defeats over the past two months — mostly in the northwestern province of Idlib and the southern region of Daraa. The western city of Palmyra, home to a set of historic Roman-era ruins, was captured by the Islamic State group last week.
“We are present today in many places and I tell you we will be present wherever this battle requires. We are up to it and we are the men for it,” Nasrallah said speaking from a secret location on a giant video screen.