Assad Salutes 'Loyal Heroes of Lebanese Resistance'
Syrian President Bashar Assad on Wednesday hailed Hizbullah's fighters who “stood side by side” with the Syrian army, thanking those who considered supporting Damascus equivalent to “defending south Lebanon.”
“I salute the loyal heroes of the Lebanese resistance, who stood side by side with the heroes of our army,” Assad said in a triumphant speech delivered after he took the oath of office for a new seven-year term.
The Syrian leader reminded that these fighters had “fought honorable battles together on both sides of the border and offered martyrs in defense of the axis of resistance.”
He saluted them and applauded “the family of every martyr of them that showed mutual loyalty and considered the duty of standing by Syria equivalent to the duty of defending south Lebanon” against Israel.
Assad, 48, won a June election denounced as a "farce" by his detractors as it was staged more than three years into a devastating war that has killed more than 170,000 people and uprooted millions.
Hizbullah had officially announced more than a year and a half ago that it was fighting alongside Syrian troops against “takfiri” armed groups.
Party leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has several times repeated that the group's fighters “will be where they should be” in Syria, vowing that Damascus will not be left alone in its confrontation with rebels seeking to oust the regime.