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memri
July 23, 2018 No.
7581

Hizbullah Officials: We Haven't Withdrawn From Southern Syria; The Power Balance Has Shifted In Favor Of Assad And His Allies

In the recent days, Hizbullah  officials have expressed satisfaction at the military gains of the Syrian regime, and boasted of Hizbullah's part in this. Hizbullah Executive Council chairman Hashem Safi Al-Din stated explicitly that the organization's fighters are still present throughout Syria, including in the south of the country, where they are taking part in the fighting alongside Assad's forces. These statements contradict claims by Russia and reports by many media outlets, that the Iranian forces, Hizbullah and the Shi'ite militias subordinate to Iran have withdrawn from southern Syria in compliance with the demand of Israel and the U.S.[1]  

Safi Al-Din's deputy, 'Ali Da'mush, stressed that, thanks to their steadfastness and sacrifices, the Syrian army and its allies have managed to regain control of all Syrian territory, and called this "a great achievement." He added that the U.S. has begun to accept its defeat in Syria and the fact that President Assad will remain in power.

The following are excerpts from the statements by these two Hizbullah officials:[2]


Hashem Safi Al-Din (image: alwatanvoice.com)

The Resistance Has Not Retreated From Southern Syria

Speaking at a memorial held by Hizbullah in Al-Nabatiyya in honor of its martyrs from that town, Hashem Safi Al-Din said: "Nobody can take the banner of resistance away from us, not even Trump or Netanyahu. We shall continue upholding this banner, and Allah will grant [us] the certain victory that was promised us. The first goal of the resistance is to fight for the sake of Allah, so that the Islamic ummah can live in true dignity and freedom and continue bearing witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger, and so that no enemy will confront [this ummah] in an attempt to desecrate its sanctities.

"One year after Israel's statements [that Iran and Hizbullah must withdraw from southern Syria] and the U.S. plot to remove the forces of the resistance from [there], we see the result: the resistance is part of the campaign for southern Syria, and the ones who are retreating from there today, and will retreat tomorrow, are those who collaborated with the U.S. and Israel [i.e., the Syrian opposition forces]. To date, the resistance has yet to retreat from southern Syria or from any other part of it. It is the American and Israeli enterprises, that have been defeated and will be defeated in the future, that will withdraw from [southern Syria] and from Syria at large."

The Resistance Will Maintain Its Might, In Lebanon And The Region

Safi Al-Din added: "Anyone who thinks that there will be a new Sykes-Picot [agreement], or is betting on this, is mistaken. Moreover, anyone who thinks that the U.S. and the West, or any other country in the world, can decide the fate of this region – from Yemen to Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Palestinian and elsewhere – [and decide that] the resistance will not be present in it, is [also] mistaken. That is a fact that we have to accept and of which we are proud, and we will not be able to renounce it in the future. The resistance is strong in Lebanon and the region, and will remain on the map in future – for, after all these years, this map must benefit the peoples of the region, from Palestine to Yemen."

The U.S. Has Begun To Accept Its Defeat In Syria Assad's Remaining In Power

Safi Al-Din's deputy 'Ali Da'mush addressed the situation in Syria in a July 20 Friday sermon. He said: "We are facing a new phase and a new move in Syria, which were imposed by the resistance, the confrontation, the sacrifices and the achievements on the ground. The Lebanese must know that any advance on the ground and any political progress made by the [Syrian] regime and its allies in their confrontation with the terror gangs in Syria will benefit Lebanon and its security and stability, and help the displaced Syrians to safely return to their land.

"The general state of the conflict in the region has shifted in favor of the resistance. There is a clear turnaround on the ground, as well as in the Syrian political arena. [True,] the military aggression of the multilateral terror [forces] against Syria yielded them important gains and achievements on the ground when [they managed to] control several cities and villages in Syria. But thanks to the steadfastness and sacrifice of the Syrian army and its allies over the recent years, the Syrian authorities have managed to regain control of every part of Syria, [and] the last area [to be recaptured] was southern Syria, up to the border with Jordan and with the [Israeli] Golan – and that is a great achievement. The region is experiencing a fundamental shift in the balance of power on the ground, in favor of the Syrian regime and its allies, and the armed terrorist gangs and their supporters are [experiencing] great losses and defeats on the ground.

"The [situation in the] political arena is no different from [the situation on] the battlefield. Comparing the demands that were made in the past with those that are being made today, [we find that] past negotiations spoke of an interim government [in Syria], and the U.S. demanded that Assad step down and play no future role [in the country], whereas today everyone agrees that Assad will stay in power. In its Helsinki talks with [Russia's] President Putin, the U.S. circumvented this issue, and it wasn't [even] mentioned... The talks there focused on the Iranian presence [in Syria], the security of the Zionist entity, and the role of the U.S. and its allies in a [future] settlement [in Syria]. The U.S. has begun to accept its defeat in Syria and [the fact that] the regime, with Assad as president, will remain – and that is a great political achievement, which comes on top of the ones in the field."      

 

 

[1] A recent MEMRI document presented reports and testimony that the Iranian and Iran-affiliated forces, while wearing Syrian army uniforms to conceal their identity, are maintaining their presence in southern Syria, with Russia's knowledge See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No.1408, "Contrary To The Understandings Reached With Russia, Iranian And Iran-Affiliated Forces Are Participating In The Fighting In Southern Syria," July 19, 2018.

[2] Alahdnews.com.lb, July 21, 2018.