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September 11, 2013 4:46 pm

Hezbollah’s Support of Assad Creates Conflict With Southern Lebanon’s Sunni Population

avatar by Zach Pontz

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The flag of Hezbollah flies in Syria, where Hezbollah has become an active element in a civil war that has claimed the lives of 80,000 people. Photo: Hezbollah Flag/Wikimedia Commons.

Lebanon based terror group Hezbollah’s support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s ongoing civil war has become a source of conflict with the Sunnis of southern Lebanon, the majority Muslim sect in the country, NOW Lebanon reports.

Many residents in the region have long identified with Hezbollah’s anti-Israel agenda and community outreach. Yet today, because the terror group is fighting against a largely Sunni uprising in neighboring Syria, many of those people are finding it hard to justify their support for the terror group.

“All people who defend human rights are against Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria,” Sheikh Abdel Hakim Attoui, an imam in Hebarieh, a small village located three miles away from the Israeli border, told NOW. “I wish Hezbollah got back to their senses and came back to Lebanon. Now, we [Lebanese] are shooting at the Syrian people.”

He insisted that many people living in South Lebanon feel the same way. The sheikh added: “I wish Hezbollah came back to Lebanon and then we would stand by it. But we can’t stand by it when they are fighting in Syria.”

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Many in the area fear that if the U.S. strikes Syria, as it has proposed to do, in response to the regime’s recent use of chemical weapons, a retaliation by Hezbollah against Israel could mean strikes on Hezbollah strongholds in southern Lebanon.

Rajai Abou Hammin, the head of the Lebanese Communist Party in Hasbaya, told NOW that “we all know that if the U.S. strikes Syria, Hezbollah will interfere and Israel will strike Lebanon.”

“People are tense,” he added. “I heard today that many have begun to pack up and move to Beirut. These are difficult times. In 2006, people ran to Syria to take shelter during the July war. This time where can they go?”

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