BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:00 A.M.) – Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah conducted a televised speech on Al-Manar yesterday that touched on a wide variety of topics, including the upcoming Lebanese Army offensive in the Ras Ba’albak area.
Sayyed Nasrallah began his speech by congratulating the families of the five Hezbollah soldiers that returned home after being released by the Al-Qaeda linked Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham group. Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, on Friday congratulated the families of the five Hezbollah captives on the return of their sons back home safe and sound.
The Hezbollah leader then paid tribute to the 27 fallen Hezbollah soldiers that were killed during the battle for the ‘Arsal Barrens last week.
Nasrallah also hailed the role of General Security General Director, Major General Abbas Ibrahim’s leading role orchestrating successful negotiations and brokering a cease-fire deal between Hezbollah and militant groups fighting in the Lebanese-Syrian border area.
He also heaped praise on the Syrian Army’s role helping win Arsal battle.
“We cannot but appreciate and laud the essential role of the Syrian army whose efforts facilitated the victory of the offensive against Al-Nusra in Arsal outskirts,” Nasrallah stated, highlighting the positive role that the Syrian authorities had played in the swap deal between Al-Nusra front and Hezbollah “despite the heavy burden it [Syrian authorities] endured due to this deal.”
In its part of the deal, the Syrian Army Syria allowed safe passage of Al-Nusra Front fighters from the outskirts of Arsal to Syria’s Idlib.
Furthermore, the Hezbollah leader did not fail to address the Islamic Republic of Iran with earnest gratitude and appreciation for its continuous support to the Resistance in its fight against terrorism. He also commended Speaker of the House Nabih Berri’s support to Hezbollah’s efforts fighting terrorism in Arsal “right from the start”.
“Speaker Nabih Berri supported Arsal offensive since the very beginning. He followed up keenly on all the details and defended its every move,” Nasrallah said in praise of Berri’s support.
However, Nasrallah went on to say that despite the fact that some details of Hezbollah’s offensive against terrorism put Prime Minister Saad Hariri in a crucial position, “he [Hariri] still agreed to holding negotiations and was keen on their success. He also provided the much-needed facilities — against all odds.”
Prime Minister Saad Hariri said that the events on the outskirts of Arsal were acceptable to the government, and recognized Hezbollah’s role in the offensive.
“The government’s position is clear and it is to protect the Lebanese. Hezbollah did the operation and achieved something. What matters is the result,” Hariri said after meeting with General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim yesterday.
“The government handled the matter with utmost responsibility, a thing which has majorly contributed to our victory,” Nasrallah added, stressing the importance of completing this victory by demonstrating serious efforts tackling the dossier of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
“We’ve started to follow up on this dossier with the Syrian government,” he said.
Interviewed by Al-Sayyad weekly, Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Gebran Bassil said that the return of refugees was not pre-conditioned by a set of bilateral contacts between the Lebanese and Syrian states, but he maintained that Lebanon should not rush a decision on the matter without contacting the Syrian government first.
In his speech, Nasrallah also touched on the aftermath of Arsal offensive.
Now that Hezbollah has seized control of the liberated areas of Arsal outskirts, he expressed his party’s readiness to hand these territories to the Lebanese Army once it was ready to deploy its forces in said region.
“When the Army is ready, Hezbollah will handover Arsal outskirts,” he said.
One of the most important militant positions taken over by Hezbollah fighters in Arsal outskirts is Hosn Al-Kherba, which looks out over Al-Malabi and the Al-Ajram Valley. Akbat Nouh and Maarouf Valley, both of which overlook Wadi Hmayyed, are also under the full control of Hezbollah.
Addressing the anticipated battle against the Islamic State (ISIL), Sayyed Nasrallah pinned great importance on the forthcoming move, especially that ISIL terrorists occupied and controlled a large area extending from the Lebanese to the Syrian borders.
“It’s clear now that the Lebanese army is the one that will liberate the areas of Ras Baalbek and Al-Qaa from Daesh,” he added, confirming Hezbollah’s willingness to be in the service of the Lebanese Army to help it win this battle.
As for the timing of the anticipated offensive, Nasrallah said that it was all in the hands of the Lebanese Army.
“Meanwhile, we [Hezbollah] will be fighting Daesh on the Syrian side of the battle alongside the Syrian Army,” he added.
Also, addressing Daesh, Nasrallah confirmed that the forthcoming battle in Al-Qaa and Ras Baalbeck outskirts was imminent, especially that it has attained full national consensus and support.
“You will lose this battle, and you will sure be defeated,” he went on in a pledge addressed to Daesh militants. “The battle field is ready and the outcome is crucial. Lebanon will stand witness to a new victory and Syria will witness a similar one as well.”
However, Nasrallah continued by giving Deash an ultimatum to opt for negotiations instead of resorting to war.
“There is still time to negotiate surrender,” he told Deash militants.
Yesterday, Major General Abbas Ibrahim told Daesh militants that the Lebanese state was ready for negotiations.
“But if [negotiations are] refused then [Daesh’s] fate would be similar to that of Nusra,” he said. “Their safety comes in return for their evacuation from Lebanese territories.”
Ibrahim also said that the Lebanese Army was capable of fighting against Daesh by itself.
Finally, responding to allegations accusing Hezbollah of links to a cell in Kuwait, Nasrallah said: “We are not afraid to say the truth. Hezbollah doesn’t have any arms and is not affiliated to any cell in Kuwait.”