In an interview with the Lebanese Future TV on 5 February 2014, the leader of the main Syrian opposition coalition, Ahmad Jarba, said Hezbollah Lebanon was no different from the criminal extremists of the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (ISIS). “Hezbollah, ISIS and the Syrian regime are three sides of the same coin,” he added.
Commenting on claims made by Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last week that Hezbollah Lebanon “made up its own mind” about going to Syria and Iran did not have a role in that, Jarba said: “This is not true. Everyone knows that. Hezbollah made a decision to go [to Syria] on Iranian orders. And I don’t believe Hezbollah would have been so stupid as to lose its popularity in the Arab world by going to kill Syrians in Syria. But they received orders [from the Iranian government] and they were obliged to follow those orders. It is well-known that Hassan Nasrallah said he was a soldier in the ‘Wilayat al-Faqih’ [the Shia Jurist Guardianship, the highest religious authority in Iran]. So the soldier received an order from his master and went to Syria.”
Jarba also claimed that Hezbollah Lebanon had around 10,000 fighters in Syria, in addition to some 30,000 other Shia fighters from Iraq and elsewhere, supported and directed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. They are fighting mainly in and around Damascus and Homs, he said, adding that opposition fighters had killed and captured some of them.
Asked about Hezbollah’s claims that the group was in Syria to fight Islamist extremists such as ISIS, Jarba insisted that Hezbollah never fought any extremists, pointing out that ISIS has been positioned in the northern and eastern parts of the country, while Hezbollah has been fighting in the west and south. “These lies and fraud worked when Hezbollah was fighting Israel,” he added. “They don’t work any more… Hezbollah is in Syria to fight Syrian revolutionaries… to protect Iran’s man in Syria, i.e. Bashar al-Assad.”
You can watch the full interview in Arabic here: