Hezbollah Says Will Attack Nusra Front

Hezbollah Says Will Attack Nusra Front
Hezbollah Says Will Attack Nusra Front

Hezbollah’s leader said on Tuesday his Lebanon-based group will launch an attack inside Syria against al Qaeda-linked militants in the mountain region along the countries’ border.

Local media have speculated that such an assault could start within days in the Qalamoun area, and Hezbollah forces clashed with gunmen from the same  group, Nusra Front, in a different border zone on Tuesday, World Bulletin reported.

The attack “will announce itself when it happens,” the group’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech. It would be in Qalamoun, but “as for its goal, place or where it will extend to… this we do not declare now.”

Lebanese officials have warned Hezbollah against launching a cross-border attack, which they say would drag Lebanon, which suffered a civil war in 1975-90, further into the Syrian conflict.

Fighting from Syria has spilled into Lebanon several times in recent years, with car and suicide bombings in Beirut, fighting in the northern city of Tripoli, and rocket attacks on Bekaa Valley towns close to the frontier.

Nusra Front fighters have regularly been active in areas close to the Syrian border and have targeted Hezbollah and Lebanese army positions in the past.

Casualties from Tuesday’s clashes, on the Lebanese side of the border near the mountain towns of Toufeil and Britel, were “very high,” a Hezbollah source said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Nusra Front, which has recently been on the offensive in northwestern Syria and took the city of Idlib this month for the first time in the conflict.