The Syrian army’s recapture of the northern city of Aleppo has put an end to hopes that President Bashar Assad’s regime could be ousted, Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Friday, while noting that his party does not want to “control Lebanon.”
“After Aleppo, one can comfortably say that the goal of regime downfall has failed,” Nasrallah said in a televised address.
“Because the regime has Damascus and Aleppo — the two biggest cities in Syria — and Homs, Hama, Latakia, Tartus, Sweida… this regime is present, strong, effective, and no one in the world can ignore it,” Nasrallah said.
Hizbullah has intervened in Syria on behalf of Assad and fought alongside his forces in Aleppo.
“Aleppo’s battle is one of the major defeats of the other camp and it is a victory for the anti-terrorism front and an important military development for our camp. But this does not mean the end of the conflict but rather that the scheme that was seeking to oust the regime has ended,” Nasrallah said.
Syria’s army on Thursday declared its full control over second city Aleppo, where Hizbullah fighters played a key role in the government’s advance.
“What happened in Aleppo over these past long months… was a real war, one of the toughest battles that Syria has seen, and one of the toughest battles that the region has seen in years,” Nasrallah said.
He noted that the next stage will be focused on “consolidating the victory in the city of Aleppo and its suburbs because the armed groups will seek to target the city and its suburbs.”
“Aleppo’s victory can pave the way for political solutions and we can say that some countries have become realistic,” Nasrallah pointed out.
And reiterating his accusation that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were “blocking the political solution,” Hizbullah’s chief described Aleppo’s win as “an achievement for all the Syrians who fought and their allies.”
“The credit goes to the Syrian leadership, army and people, who took the decision to fight. Syria’s allies offered help but the Syrians are the ones who are creating the future of their country and the entire region.”
In addition to help from Hizbullah, the Damascus regime has been bolstered by its allies Iran and Russia, while rebels have been backed by Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and some western powers.
Nasrallah also stressed that the regime and its allies are not seeking any “demographic changes” in Syria.
“The armed groups were behind the demographic changes that happened. There are no people of other faiths or other political affiliations in the areas that they control,” he noted.
Nasrallah also announced that the residents who were evacuated from Aleppo’s eastern neighborhoods and the Damascus suburb of Daraya will return to their homes in the future.
Turning to Lebanon, Nasrallah said the policy statement of the new government is “not expected to run into any obstacles,” suggesting there will be no controversy over clauses related to the liberation of Lebanese territory still under Israel’s occupation.
“The effort must be focused now on the electoral law… The government must not consider itself as a merely elections government and it must shoulder its full responsibilities towards the people at all levels. It must not use the excuse of being an elections government to justify any impotence or negligence,” Nasrallah added.
“We support an electoral law fully based on proportional representation and we call for a comprehensive dialogue. We understand the concerns of some parties which must be taken into consideration,” he said.
“We do not back a return to the 1960 electoral law,” Nasrallah stressed.
He added: “Some like to claim that this is ‘Hizbullah’s government’ and that Hizbullah wants to seize control of the country and the institutions. These are false claims that some impotent and weak parties hide behind.”
“We do not want to seize control of the country even if all political forces and parties ask us to do so… No one can accept to shoulder the responsibility of a country facing this amount of difficulties,” Nasrallah noted.
As for Lebanon’s future, Hizbullah’s leader added: “The discussions are positive and open-minded and everyone wants to reach results. Our country is entering a state of political and security stability.”
“We’re awaiting the next parliamentary elections and we must remain alert at the security and political level because the terrorist groups are angry over their defeat. The country’s future hinges on everyone’s cooperation and understanding,” he said.