Syria's opposition warned on Monday that Hizbullah’s role in fighting in Homs province amounts to a "declaration of war," while the terrorist group said it is merely protecting Lebanese people, AFP reports.
The comments came as a watchdog said the Lebanese Shiite terror group was leading the battle in the Qusayr area of Homs, which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has reportedly termed "the main battle" his troops are currently fighting.
"What is happening in Homs is a declaration of war against the Syrian people and the Arab League should deal with it on this basis," George Sabra, the interim chief of the opposition National Coalition, was quoted by AFP as having said.
"The Lebanese president and the Lebanese government should realize the danger that it poses to the lives of Syrians and the future relations between the two peoples and countries," he told a news conference in Istanbul.
"We hope that the brotherly Lebanese people will raise their voices against the murder of free Syrians," said Sabra, shortly after his appointment was announced.
"We call in particular on our Shiite Lebanese brothers to stop their sons from going to kill Syrians and becoming victims of the conflict as well," he added, according to AFP.
Hizbullah, a close ally of the Assad regime, has defended any involvement of its forces in Syria as a bid to protect Lebanese citizens in a string of villages inside the war-torn country.
"What Hizbullah is doing with regard to this issue is a national and moral duty in the defense of the Lebanese in border villages," Lebanon's official news agency quoted senior Hizbullah leader Sheikh Nabil Qauk as saying on Monday.
"To those who ask us to allow our brothers in these border villages to be victims of murders, kidnaps, massacres and expulsions, I respond to you: 'Can we leave these Lebanese hostage to this situation?" he added.
"Hizbullah’s martyrs are the martyrs of the entire nation because they are defending their Lebanese compatriots," he said.
Fighting has raged in the Qusayr area of the central province of Homs for days, with regime troops winning control of a series of strategic villages in the area during the weekend.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said Hizbullah forces were leading the battle in the area.
The area is of strategic importance because it runs along the border with Lebanon and is near the route from Damascus to the coast.
Nasrallah publicly offered to place itself at Assad’s disposal.
But already several months earlier, a soldier from the Free Syrian Army told The Independent newspaper, published in the UK, that Hizbullah's Shiite Muslim terrorists are full military allies of the Syrian army and that "everyone knows they have fighters there."
Reports in a Saudi daily last week indicated that over 1,000 Hizbullah members had entered Syria over a period of a few days via waterways in the Mediterranean Sea.
The daily quoted sources as having said that the regime in Damascus "is resorting to the aid of fighters from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which implies that the Syrian recruits' desire to fight alongside the regime is decreasing."