Nasrallah dismisses Iraq’s criticism on militant evacuations
The secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, has dismissed claims that Hezbollah and the Lebanese government were exposing Iraq to greater security risks by evacuating hundreds of terrorists from the Lebanon-Syria border to areas near the Iraqi border in Syria.
The Lebanese media released a statement by Nasrallah on Wednesday where the Hezbollah chief sought to assuage concerns in the Iraqi government about a deal earlier this week between the Lebanese army and Daesh, saying the evacuation of Daesh members and their families to Syria’s Dair al-Zawr province, which came in exchange for the bodies of nine Lebanese soldiers, could not pose threats to security in western Iraqi territories.
Nasrallah said in the statement that the Daesh members who had been evacuated from Lebanon to Syria’s east were “defeated elements” and had no further thrust to fight, adding that some 310 terrorists could not “change the equation” in an area that is believed to be home to tens of thousands of Daesh operatives.
The Lebanese army launched a long-anticipated battle on August 8 to clear its border regions from Daesh. Hezbollah and the Syrian army also contributed to the battle on the other side of the border in Syria. The fight ended when the terrorists were encircled in a small strip of land and accepted to locate bodies of nine abducted Lebanese soldier in return for the evacuation of members to a Daesh stronghold in eastern Syria.
For nearly six years now, Hezbollah has been assisting Syria’s government in the fight against terrorists in a bid to prevent a spillover of violence into Lebanon. The group launched an operation last month to recapture areas from other terror groups in Lebanese regions near the Syrian border.
Nasrallah said in his Wednesday statement that Iraqi officials were wrong by claiming that the Lebanese had spread the Lebanon-based militancy to areas near Iraq’s border in Syria, adding that the Daesh operatives originally from Syria and Lebanon in fact returned them to the areas that they had belonged to.
“We transferred them from one of our battle fronts to the other,” said Nasrallah, referring to Hezbollah’s contribution to Syria’s ongoing fight against Daesh in Dair al-Zawr.