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Hezbollah Says It Won’t Quit Fight in Syria

Opposition Faces Heavy Assault In Aleppo, Appeals for Weapons

  • Hezbollah supporters raise their hands in salute as Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks on a screen via a video link from a secret place, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistants day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences.(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Hezbollah supporters raise their hands in salute as Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks on a screen via a video link from a secret place, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistants day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences.(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

  • Hezbollah supporters, raise their hands in salute as Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks on a screen via a video link from a secret place, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasal said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Hezbollah supporters, raise their hands in salute as Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks on a screen via a video link from a secret place, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasal said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

  • Injured Hezbollah fighters listen to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on a screen via a video link during a rally to mark "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Injured Hezbollah fighters listen to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on a screen via a video link during a rally to mark "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

  • In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Iranian men attend to vote for the presidential election in the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, Friday, June 14, 2013. What Iran's next president can potentially influence is the tone and tactics with world powers if stalemated nuclear talks resume at some point after a successor is picked for the firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (AP Photo/SANA)

    In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Iranian men attend to vote for the presidential election in the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, Friday, June 14, 2013. What Iran's next president can potentially influence is the tone and tactics with world powers if stalemated nuclear talks resume at some point after a successor is picked for the firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (AP Photo/SANA)

  • This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows damaged buildings during battles between the rebels and the Syrian government forces, in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, June 13, 2013. Syria's upwardly spiraling violence has resulted in the confirmed killings of almost 93,000 people, the United Nations' human rights office said Thursday but acknowledged the real number is likely to be far higher. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

    This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows damaged buildings during battles between the rebels and the Syrian government forces, in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, June 13, 2013. Syria's upwardly spiraling violence has resulted in the confirmed killings of almost 93,000 people, the United Nations' human rights office said Thursday but acknowledged the real number is likely to be far higher. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)

  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a banner and flash the victory sign during a demonstration in Hass town, Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, June 14, 2013. The Syrian government on Friday dismissed U.S. charges that it used chemical weapons as "full of lies," accusing President Barack Obama of resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm Syrian rebels. The commander of the main rebel umbrella group welcomed the U.S. move. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a banner and flash the victory sign during a demonstration in Hass town, Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, June 14, 2013. The Syrian government on Friday dismissed U.S. charges that it used chemical weapons as "full of lies," accusing President Barack Obama of resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm Syrian rebels. The commander of the main rebel umbrella group welcomed the U.S. move. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network (ENN), anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a placard with a caricature during a demonstration at Kafr Nabil town in Idlib province, northern Syria, June 14, 2013. The Syrian government on Friday dismissed U.S. charges that it used chemical weapons as "full of lies," accusing President Barack Obama of resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm Syrian rebels. The commander of the main rebel umbrella group welcomed the U.S. move. The Arabic on the placard reads, "Let's go to Jihad." (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

    In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network (ENN), anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a placard with a caricature during a demonstration at Kafr Nabil town in Idlib province, northern Syria, June 14, 2013. The Syrian government on Friday dismissed U.S. charges that it used chemical weapons as "full of lies," accusing President Barack Obama of resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm Syrian rebels. The commander of the main rebel umbrella group welcomed the U.S. move. The Arabic on the placard reads, "Let's go to Jihad." (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)

  • Injured Hezbollah fighters listen to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on a screen via a video link, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    Injured Hezbollah fighters listen to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on a screen via a video link, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

  • An injured Hezbollah fighter who was wounded in Syria, listens to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on a screen via a video link during a rally to mark the "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    An injured Hezbollah fighter who was wounded in Syria, listens to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on a screen via a video link during a rally to mark the "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

  • A Hezbollah fighter who was wounded in Qusair, Syria, listens to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, not shown, on a screen via a video link, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistants day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

    A Hezbollah fighter who was wounded in Qusair, Syria, listens to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, not shown, on a screen via a video link, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistants day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

  • Iranian men wait in line at a polling station to vote during the presidential election in Qom, 125 kilometers (78 miles) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 14, 2013. What Iran's next president can potentially influence is the tone and tactics with world powers if stalemated nuclear talks resume at some point after a successor is picked for the firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

    Iranian men wait in line at a polling station to vote during the presidential election in Qom, 125 kilometers (78 miles) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 14, 2013. What Iran's next president can potentially influence is the tone and tactics with world powers if stalemated nuclear talks resume at some point after a successor is picked for the firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

  • FILE - This Wednesday, April 17, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a mass burial of people allegedly killed by Syrian Army snipers, in Aleppo, Syria. Syria's upwardly spiraling violence has resulted in the confirmed killings of almost 93,000 people, the United Nations' human rights office said Thursday but acknowledged the real number is likely to be far higher. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC, File)

    FILE - This Wednesday, April 17, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a mass burial of people allegedly killed by Syrian Army snipers, in Aleppo, Syria. Syria's upwardly spiraling violence has resulted in the confirmed killings of almost 93,000 people, the United Nations' human rights office said Thursday but acknowledged the real number is likely to be far higher. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC, File)

  • An Egyptian Salafi shouts a slogan against Syrian President Bashar Assad as one waves a Syrian revolutionary flag during a rally after the Friday prayers at Amr Ibn Al As mosque in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, June 14, 2013. Syrians are being killed at an average rate of 5,000 per month, the United Nation said Thursday as it raised the overall death toll in the civil war to nearly 93,000, with civilians bearing the brunt of the attacks. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

    An Egyptian Salafi shouts a slogan against Syrian President Bashar Assad as one waves a Syrian revolutionary flag during a rally after the Friday prayers at Amr Ibn Al As mosque in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, June 14, 2013. Syrians are being killed at an average rate of 5,000 per month, the United Nation said Thursday as it raised the overall death toll in the civil war to nearly 93,000, with civilians bearing the brunt of the attacks. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

  • Hezbollah supporters raise their hands in salute as Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks on a screen via a video link from a secret place, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistants day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences.(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
  • Hezbollah supporters, raise their hands in salute as Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah speaks on a screen via a video link from a secret place, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasal said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
  • Injured Hezbollah fighters listen to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on a screen via a video link during a rally to mark "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
  • In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Iranian men attend to vote for the presidential election in the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, Friday, June 14, 2013. What Iran's next president can potentially influence is the tone and tactics with world powers if stalemated nuclear talks resume at some point after a successor is picked for the firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (AP Photo/SANA)
  • This citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows damaged buildings during battles between the rebels and the Syrian government forces, in Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, June 13, 2013. Syria's upwardly spiraling violence has resulted in the confirmed killings of almost 93,000 people, the United Nations' human rights office said Thursday but acknowledged the real number is likely to be far higher. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC)
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a banner and flash the victory sign during a demonstration in Hass town, Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, June 14, 2013. The Syrian government on Friday dismissed U.S. charges that it used chemical weapons as "full of lies," accusing President Barack Obama of resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm Syrian rebels. The commander of the main rebel umbrella group welcomed the U.S. move. (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network (ENN), anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a placard with a caricature during a demonstration at Kafr Nabil town in Idlib province, northern Syria, June 14, 2013. The Syrian government on Friday dismissed U.S. charges that it used chemical weapons as "full of lies," accusing President Barack Obama of resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm Syrian rebels. The commander of the main rebel umbrella group welcomed the U.S. move. The Arabic on the placard reads, "Let's go to Jihad." (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN)
  • Injured Hezbollah fighters listen to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on a screen via a video link, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
  • An injured Hezbollah fighter who was wounded in Syria, listens to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on a screen via a video link during a rally to mark the "wounded resistant's day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
  • A Hezbollah fighter who was wounded in Qusair, Syria, listens to a speech by Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, not shown, on a screen via a video link, during a rally to mark the "wounded resistants day," in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, June 14, 2013. Nasrallah said his group will continue to fight in Syria “wherever needed,” and said he has made a “calculated” decision to defend Syria and is ready to bear all consequences. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
  • Iranian men wait in line at a polling station to vote during the presidential election in Qom, 125 kilometers (78 miles) south of the capital Tehran, Iran, Friday, June 14, 2013. What Iran's next president can potentially influence is the tone and tactics with world powers if stalemated nuclear talks resume at some point after a successor is picked for the firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
  • FILE - This Wednesday, April 17, 2013 file citizen journalism image provided by Aleppo Media Center AMC which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a mass burial of people allegedly killed by Syrian Army snipers, in Aleppo, Syria. Syria's upwardly spiraling violence has resulted in the confirmed killings of almost 93,000 people, the United Nations' human rights office said Thursday but acknowledged the real number is likely to be far higher. (AP Photo/Aleppo Media Center AMC, File)
  • An Egyptian Salafi shouts a slogan against Syrian President Bashar Assad as one waves a Syrian revolutionary flag during a rally after the Friday prayers at Amr Ibn Al As mosque in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, June 14, 2013. Syrians are being killed at an average rate of 5,000 per month, the United Nation said Thursday as it raised the overall death toll in the civil war to nearly 93,000, with civilians bearing the brunt of the attacks. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Beirut — Hezbollah’s leader vowed yesterday that his militants would keep fighting in Syria “wherever needed” after the U.S. agreed to arm the rebels in the civil war, setting up a proxy fight between Iran and the West that threatens to engulf more of the Middle East.

President Obama has deepened U.S. involvement in the conflict, authorizing lethal aid to the rebels for the first time after Washington said it had conclusive evidence the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons. Syria accused Obama of lying about the evidence, saying he was resorting to fabrications to justify his decision to arm the rebels.

The opposition forces, which have suffered key battlefield losses in recent weeks and were facing heavy fighting yesterday in Syria’s largest city of Aleppo, appealed for the weapons to be sent to them as soon as possible to swing the momentum to their side.

The 2-year-old conflict, which the U.N. estimates has killed more than 90,000 people and displaced millions, is increasingly being fought along sectarian lines, pitting Sunni against Shiite Muslims, and is threatening the stability of Syria’s neighbors.

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, chief of the Shiite Hezbollah group in Lebanon, appeared unwavering in his support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

He signaled for the first time the Iranian-backed militant group will stay involved in the civil war after helping Assad’s army recapture the key town of Qusair in central Homs province from rebels.

“We will be where we should be. We will continue to bear the responsibility we took upon ourselves,” Nasrallah said in a speech via satellite to supporters in south Beirut. “There is no need to elaborate. ... We leave the details to the requirements of the battlefield.”

Nasrallah appeared angry and defiant, saying the group has made a “calculated” decision to defend the Assad regime.

Hezbollah has come under harsh criticism at home and abroad for sending its fighters to Qusair, and Nasrallah’s gamble in Syria primarily stems from his group’s vested interest in the regime’s survival. The Syrian government has been one of Hezbollah’s strongest backers for decades, and the militant group fears that if Assad’s regime falls, it will be replaced by a U.S.-backed government that is hostile to Hezbollah.

Nasrallah said his group was the last to join the fray in Syria, after hundreds and perhaps thousands of Sunni fighters — many of them from Lebanon — headed to Syria in support of the rebels.

Assad’s forces, aided by the Hezbollah fighters, captured Qusair on June 5, dealing a heavy blow to rebels who had been entrenched in the strategic town for more than a year. Since then, the regime has shifted its attention to recapture other areas in the central province of Homs and the city of Aleppo in the north.

Nasrallah did not say outright whether his group would go as far north as Aleppo, but he strongly suggested the group was prepared to fight until the end.

“After Qusair for us will be the same as before Qusair,” he said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the fighting in Aleppo was concentrated in the city’s eastern rebel-held neighborhood of Sakhour, calling the fighting “the most violent in months.” It said regime troops attacked the neighborhood from two directions but failed to advance, suffering casualties.

The Obama administration is still grappling with what type and how much weaponry to send to the Syrian rebels, but the announcement buoyed the opposition forces, which are heavily outgunned and outmanned.

The commander of the main Western-backed rebel group said he hoped that U.S. weapons will be in the hands of rebels in the near future.

“This will surely reflect positively on the rebels’ morale, which is high despite attempts by the regime, Hezbollah and Iran to show that their morale after the fall of Qusair deteriorated,” Gen. Salim Idris told Al-Arabiya TV.