Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah decisively committed his followers to an all-out battle in Syria to defeat the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad. He said the organization was entering “a completely new phase,” sending troops abroad to protect its interests. The speech signaled a significant escalation in Hizbullah’s military involvement in Syria, deeply enmeshing the group in the war across the border.
Hizbullah “wouldn’t do this if they thought there was going to be some kind of reaction,” said Andrew J. Tabler, a Syria analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Ali Rizk, the Beirut bureau chief for Press TV, the satellite channel of Hizbullah’s patron Iran, noting that Nasrallah promised victory, said, “Victory means you’re in it to the very end and you’re going to go all the way. Hizbullah is going to go all the way.”
Hizbullah has essentially become the ground assault force for the Syrian Army in the battle for Qusayr and Homs Province, which links Damascus with the government’s coastal strongholds. “In Qusayr, the ones who are engaging on the front lines, the man-to-man firepower, that’s Hizbullah,” Rizk said.