By ISRAEL HAYOM—
Syria will “give Hezbollah everything” in recognition of its support and will follow the terror group’s model of “resistance” against Israel, a Lebanese newspaper on Thursday quoted President Bashar al-Assad as saying, AFP reported.
Assad’s comments, published by Al-Akhbar, reportedly came during meetings with Lebanese visitors in Damascus and appeared intended to refute any suggestion that last week’s reported Israeli raids on Syrian targets would halt assistance to the Shiite group Hezbollah in Lebanon.
According to the AFP report on Al-Akhbar’s story, the newspaper said visitors quoted Assad as expressing “confidence, satisfaction and great gratitude towards Hezbollah.”
Iranian-backed Hezbollah is a longtime ally of the Syrian regime and has sent fighters to battle alongside Assad’s troops, particularly in the Qusayr district of the central province of Homs.
Damascus has long served as a supply conduit for Hezbollah, and Assad said they would reward the group for their loyalty.
“We have decided to give them everything,” the newspaper quoted him as saying, without elaborating.
“For the first time we feel that we and they are living in the same situation and they are not just an ally we help with resistance,” he said, according to AFP’s translation.
“We have decided that we must move forward towards them and turn into a nation of resistance like Hezbollah, for the sake of Syria and future generations.”
Assad was quoted as saying Syria could “easily” respond to Israeli air strikes by “firing a few rockets at Israel.”
“But we want strategic revenge, by opening the door of resistance and turning all of Syria into a country of resistance.”
“After the strike, we are convinced that we are fighting the enemy now, we are pursuing its soldiers deployed throughout our country,” he said, in apparent reference to rebel forces, which the regime has accused of being allied with Israel.