Syrian President Bashar al-Assad defends the presence of Lebanese fighters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has defended the presence of fighters from the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah movement among the ranks of the Syrian army, saying his government had legitimately requested their help. 

In an interview aired last night on the official Hezbollah channel, al-Manar, Assad said the presence of non-Syrian fighters among the Syrian army was no justification for the presence of foreign fighters in the ranks of the rebels.

Hezbollah has led several battles against rebel groups in Syria along the Lebanese borders in the suburbs of Homs and in the mountainous Qalamoun region.

Syria’s conflict began with anti-government demonstrations in March 2011, but after a bloody crackdown by the ruling regime, the conflict spiralled into a multi-front civil war that has killed more than 240,000 people.

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