Nasrallah announced Thursday that the ISIS-held areas near the Lebanese-Syrian borders were completely liberated, pointing out that 2,920 square kilometres of the Syrian territories and 764 square kilometres of the Lebanese territories were under the control of the terrorist group.
Addressing his followers via a televised speech in a ceremony held by Hezbollah in Baalback celebrating the liberation of eastern Lebanon, Nasrallah described the gains against the terrorists as the “Second Liberation” after the withdrawal of Israeli military forces from southern Lebanon and Western Bekaa region in 2000.
Nasrallah stressed that “the decision to engage in this battle was taken independently by the Lebanese state, and this is a very important point because it represents a sovereign political decision.”
The Hezbollah chief stressed that the decision was a national one made by members of the Lebanese Defence Council including President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
“This is one of the achievements of the new era that is represented by President Michel Aoun, who I’ve always considered a brave, independent, and leading man who is not affiliated to any country, embassy, or threat,” he added.
Honestly speaking, Nasrallah said, PM Hariri gave his consent to the decision, and also Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, whose stances have always been no secret to anyone.
He explained that the Lebanese Army had taken over the northern borders and that this battle had stopped an emirate from being established from Lebanon to the Mediterranean.
Nasrallah further revealed that the US government was upset about Hezbollah’s intervention in the operation and threatened to cut aid on the Lebanese Army if the operation takes place.
He called for enhanced political trust in the strength of the Lebanese Army and assured that the Lebanese Army has proved that it is trustworthy.
The Hezbollah chief also referred to Shebaa Farms and Kfarshuba hills of Lebanon, which are occupied by the Israeli regime, and said that “we are waiting for another sovereign decision because a Lebanese land is still under Israeli occupation.
“Today, on the ceremony of the Second Liberation, we demand a plan to liberate Shebaa Farms and the hills… I am not calling for a war against Israel, but for a complete plan to liberate the land and return it to the Lebanese sovereignty.”
Nasrallah finally reassured his support for the call of President Aoun, Prime Minister Hariri, and Parliament Speaker Berri to pacify the situation and halt arguments, and reassured that protecting the borders is the responsibility of the Lebanese Army.
Meanwhile, PM Hariri on Friday dismissed certain claims made by Israelis about the Hezbollah resistance movement.
“They (the Israelis) say Hezbollah controls Lebanon, and that is not true. Hezbollah is present. It’s in the government and it has support in the country. But this doesn’t mean Hezbollah controls all of Lebanon,” he said in an interview with the French daily Le Monde.
Prime Minister Hariri also said that the Lebanese Armed Forces played the biggest role in freeing the outskirts of the border towns from terrorism.
Hariri, the leader of the essentially Sunni party Future Movement – the Lebanese Parliament’s largest bloc – and “the strongest figurehead” of the March 14 Alliance, is an arch-rival and opponent of Nasrallah and his Shiite political party Hezbollah, and is known for his close ties with Saudi Arabia.
However, the two sides finally reached a compromise last year to end two and a half years of power vacuum in the Arab country.
Lebanon was without a president from May 2014 to October 2016, when the Lebanese parliament finally gathered in its entirety to elect Aoun, a close ally of Hezbollah, as the 13th head of state.
Hariri, a billionaire businessman, also announced that he would support Aoun for the presidency, arguing that the country could no longer continue to stagnate.
Aoun, in turn, appointed Hariri as the country’s prime minister and asked him to head a new government after the presidential election.