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Nasrallah critical of US-led anti ISIS air strikes

BEIRUT |, with agencies - September 24, 2014, 09h44
Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, criticized Tuesday US-led airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.
In a televised speech broadcast on Hezbollah’s al-Manar television station on Tuesday night, Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Shiite Hezbollah movement, criticised US-led strikes against jihadists in Syria and said he would not back the anti-ISIS coalition serving ‘American interests’.

"We have a principle: whether the Americans attack the Islamic State, the Taliban or the former Iraqi regime, we oppose US military intervention, and we are against an international coalition in Syria," he said.

"Our position does not change... we refuse all American military intervention, whether its under international cover or that of NATO," he added.

Earlier this month, Lebanon signed up to be part of the anti-ISIS coalition in a meeting in Saudi Arabia.

“This coalition, as (US President Barack) Obama said in all his speeches, is intended to defend American interests," Nasrallah said. "It was only when this (jihadist) danger started to threaten their interests" that Washington responded, he added.

Hezbollah, a key ally of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, has been sending fighters to assist the Syrian regime’s war effort since 2011. Damascus for its part has stated that any un-approved strike by the anti-ISIS coalition on Syrian territory would be considered an aggression although the Syrian regime claims it was notified before airstrikes began on Monday night.

Nasrallah also spoke of the issue of captured Lebanese soldiers by tafkirist groups. According to Nasrallah, "the key aim of everyone at this moment ought to be the return of the kidnapped soldiers as soon as possible."

He stressed the importance of unity and moving past political disagreements in order to work out a way to get these soldiers back. "We have dealt and we are still dealing with this case as it is of the political power's responsibility in Lebanon and everyone ought to back and support the government in solving it," he made clear.

Concluding his speech, Nasrallah stressed, again, that the "Lebanese should be united hand-in-hand behind the government, the State and the army to confront terrorism. They are capable, in doing so, to ward off the danger of terrorism."
#Hassan_Nasrallah, #Hezbollah, #ISIS, #Syria, #Anti-Isis_coalition, #anti-IS_coalition
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