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January 1, 2017 8:41 pm

Report: Hezbollah Rejects Moscow-Ankara-Brokered Syria Ceasefire Deal Over Turkish Demand for Withdrawal of All Foreign Fighters

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avatar by Ruthie Blum

A snapshot of the war in Syria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A snapshot of the war in Syria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Sources in Lebanon told the London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Arab that Hezbollah has rejected the Russia-Turkey-mediated ceasefire agreement for the Syrian civil war, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Sunday.

According to these sources, the Iranian-backed, Lebanon-based terrorist organization that has been fighting on behalf of President Bashar Assad is furious about Ankara’s clause in the agreement requiring all foreign forces to withdraw from Syria, before a diplomatic solution is reached or even discussed.

To make matters worse, the report said, the sources also claimed that Moscow informed Tehran about this clause — something that angered Hezbollah, which has been fighting alongside both.

A Hezbollah official publicly declared: “We are not in Syria by Turkish decree, and we will not leave it by Turkish decree.”

A Lebanese commentator told Al-Arab that a withdrawal of Hezbollah forces from Syria would have dangerous consequences, because — he claimed — it will make it difficult for Iran to prove that it is still a strong player in the region.

On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution that endorses a nationwide ceasefire in Syria. The Russia-drafted resolution — officially presented to the UNSC on Friday and signed by the Syrian government and seven rebel groups — calls for peace talks to begin next month in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, between representatives of Assad’s army, supported by Russia, and representatives of the rebels, backed by Turkey. Both countries stressed that agreement is not meant to be a substitute for the UN push for peace talks in February in Geneva.

As The Algemeiner reported on Friday, as Moscow and Ankara were hammering out the details of the ceasefire agreement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry released a report on the “pivotal role” that Hezbollah and other Iran-backed Shiite fighters played in the recent offensive in the devastated Syrian city of Aleppo.

Since the conflict in Syria began in 2011, Israel has sought to remain neutral. However, the IDF has responded with pinpoint strikes to occasional cross-border fire — both errant and intentional — in the Golan Heights and has also reportedly targeted a number of Hezbollah-bound weapons convoys in Syria in recent years.

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