As the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad comes under increasing assault by the rebels, a United Nations report says Hezbollah terrorists have joined the fight.
According to UN human rights investigators, the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah has confirmed it has members fighting in Syria on behalf of the government, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Hezbollah has long been suspected of aiding its Syrian ally along with Iran, which confirmed in September that Revolution Guards were fighting in Syria.
Meanwhile, rebel forces have begun pushing into minority Christian and Alawite strongholds near Hama, igniting fears of sectarian violence.
Many Christians have remained supportive of the government due to suspicions of hardline Islamists in the rebel groups. However, rebel forces are hopeful Christians will shift allegiance.
“We have been in touch with Christian opposition activists in al-Suqeilabiya and we have told them to stay downstairs or on the lowest floor of their building as possible, and not to go outside,” a Syrian activist told Reuters.
However, the Alawites present a more difficult challenge. Most are fiercely loyal to the government of President Assad, who hails from the sect.
Despite fears from world leaders, rebel commanders insist that they are fighting the government and not any particular sect.
“If we are fired at from a Sunni village that is loyal to the regime we go in and we liberate it and clean it,” a rebel commander said. “So should we not do the same when it comes to an Alawite village just because there is a fear of an all-out sectarian war? We respond to the source of fire.”