Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy that's propping up the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad, vowed to increase its role fighting rebels in Syria and said it would soon also target militant groups looking to expand in Lebanon, such as the Islamic State group and al Qaeda’s Syrian branch Jabhat al Nusra. 

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah announced that the group’s presence in Syria would grow everywhere its support is required to win the civil war. The  Lebanon-based Shiite organization also called on “everyone in Lebanon and the region” to join forces and fight the Islamic state group, also known as ISIS, which has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria in addition to having a growing presence in other countries in the region.

ISIS is “a kind of danger that is unprecedented in history, which targets humanity itself,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Sunday. “This is a danger to everyone. No one should bury their heads in the sand.”

Hezbollah has been a leading force in Lebanon fighting militant groups in the border area with Syria, acting without support from the Lebanese army or the Lebanese government. On Sunday, Nasrallah reiterated this position, claiming that ridding Lebanon of “terrorists” is a government responsibility and that the government's failure to act has forced Hezbollah to intervene. He also urged Lebanese security forces to join the fight.

Nasrallah called on the Lebanese army to "defend your land, people and sovereignty, and to face your responsibilities, not run away from them."

The Shiite group has already begun to arm and support minority groups in the country, like the Christian population in rural Lebanon near the border, warning them that the Lebanese government could not protect them against the growing threat of terrorist groups entering from Syria.


In Syria, Hezbollah has been one of the strongest fighting forces on the ground supporting the regime, but until Nasrallah’s speech on Sunday, both Hezbollah and the Syrian government denied that it was present anywhere but the border regions with Lebanon. It is estimated that Hezbollah has between 5,000 and 7,000 men in Syria, but if Nasrallah’s statements are true, that number is likely to increase in the coming weeks.

“We are fighting alongside our Syrian brothers, alongside the army and the people and the popular resistance in Damascus and Aleppo and Deir Ezzor and Qusayr and Hasakah and Idlib,” Nasrallah said, naming locations all across the country. “We are present today in many places and we will be present in all the places in Syria that this battle requires.”