Syrian Opposition Chief: Hizbullah Must Prepare for Post-Assad Era

Posted on: August 11, 2012 at 00:57
Head of the opposition Syrian National Council Abdel Basset Sayda on Friday called on Hizbullah to “prepare for the post-Assad era,” urging it to engage in national dialogue aimed at “building “a strong state for all the Lebanese.”

“Hizbullah must seize the chance, integrate into the Lebanese society and engage in dialogue in order to contribute to building a strong state for all the Lebanese that would be in the interest of the Lebanese and Syrian peoples,” Sayda said in an interview on MTV.

Earlier on Friday, the United States added Hizbullah to a list of organizations under sanctions for their ties to the Syrian regime. The Syrian opposition has also accused Hizbullah of aiding President Bashar Assad in its crackdown on dissent.

''This action highlights Hizbullah's activities within Syria and its integral role in the continued violence the Assad regime is inflicting on the Syrian population,'' the U.S. Treasury Department charged in a statement.

Washington already classifies Hizbullah a foreign ''terrorist organization'' and it is under U.S. sanctions, but Friday's move explicitly ties the group to the violence underway in Syria, where President Bashar Assad is attempting to put down a revolt.

''Hizbullah's extensive support to the Syrian government's violent suppression of the Syrian people exposes the true nature of this terrorist organization and its destabilizing presence in the region,'' said David Cohen, the Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

''Long after the Assad regime is gone, the people of Syria and the entire global community will remember that Hizbullah, and its patron Iran, contributed to the regime's murder of countless innocent Syrians.''

Hizbullah was added to a blacklist associated with an executive order signed by U.S. President Barack Obama in August last year which targeted the government of Syria and its supporters.

Those sanctions were designed to increase pressure on Damascus as Washington called for the first time for Assad to step down over his military assault on rebelling Syrians opposed to his rule.

But 17 months after the start of the uprising the Syrian leader remains in power, and more than 20,000 people have been killed.

Hizbullah has denied a report recently published by the Saudi newspaper Okaz about the death of 56 of its fighters in battles in Syria’s Aleppo.

“This report is baseless, has nothing to do with reality and was fabricated by the imagination of the sources that composed it,” the party said.
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