Hezbollah leader vows to stand by Assad
Beirut - Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday vowed to stand by his embattled ally President Bashar Assad to the end, lashing out at Syria's opposition for cosying up with Washington and Israel.
"From the very beginning, we have made it clear that we stand by the (Syrian) regime, a regime of resistance" against Israel, Nasrallah said in a speech to mark the Shi’ite commemoration of Ashura.
Nasrallah's speech, broadcast on a giant screen to tens of thousands in the Shi’ite stronghold just south of Beirut, came after he made a brief public appearance before the frenzied crowd.
The black-clad leader heaped criticism on the Syrian National Council, the main anti-Assad opposition coalition, slamming the council for aiming to "destroy Syria".
"The so-called Syrian National Council, formed in Istanbul, and its leader Burhan Ghaliun... are trying to present their credentials to the United States and Israel," Nasrallah said.
The Shi’ite leader's comments came after Ghaliun was quoted as saying a Syria run by the country's main opposition group would cut military ties to Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.
"There will be no special relationship with Iran," Ghalioun, a 66-year-old university professor, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Friday.
"Breaking the exceptional relationship means breaking the strategic, military alliance," Ghalioun was quoted as saying. "After the fall of the Syrian regime, (Hezbollah) won't be the same."