The Syrian regime on Tuesday criticized the European Union’s decision to blacklist the military arm of the Hizbullah terror group, while the Syrian opposition welcomed the decision.
According to the official Syrian SANA news agency, the Syrian Foreign Ministry denounced the EU’s decision, claiming it was a “response to the U.S. and Israeli demands against the movement of resistance in Lebanon and the rest of the Arab states.”
"Hizbullah is a fundamental part of the Lebanese national fabric and enjoys a wide popularity in Lebanon," SANA quoted a source in the foreign ministry as having said.
The source added that Hizbullah "plays a positive role in bolstering the national unity in brotherly Lebanon," adding that all of this has made the group a target for the states and forces that do not have good intentions for Lebanon and the Arab nation.
"Syria strongly denounces this decision which encourages aggression and occupation, and stresses that it won't affect the spirit of the Resistance led by Hizbullah to liberate South Lebanon from the Israeli occupation," said the source.
He expressed Syria's condemnation of the EU’s decision because "it targets the present and future of the Arab nation and the resistant fabric in it and serves the Israeli plots in the region," according to SANA.
Meanwhile, the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition welcomed the EU decision, though it called for the heads of the terror group to be put on trial for their role in the Syrian civil war. Hizbullah has sent thousands of terrorists from Lebanon to assist President Bashar Al-Assad's troops in fighting the rebels wishing to topple Assad.
The SNC said that the EU blacklist was “a step in the right direction”, adding that European countries should take "concrete steps that would contribute to stopping the militia's involvement in Syria."
"We call for Hizbullah leaders to be put on trial for the terrorist crimes they committed on Syrian territory," the SNC said in a statement.
Hizbullah responded to the blacklist on Monday by accusing the European Union of bowing to Israeli demands.
"The European Union has surrendered to the wishes of Israel in adding Hizbullah to its blacklist," the group’s Al-Manar television channel said.
"The leaders of the enemy state (Israel) have tried for years to push Europe to take this decision and promote it with flagrant support from the Americans and the British," the network added.
Hizbullah was proven to be behind the terrorist attack on an Israeli tour bus at Bulgaria’s Burgas airport that left six people dead and 35 wounded at the Black Sea resort town last year.
Lebanon demanded last week that the EU keep Hizbullah off its list of terrorist organizations. The group has a sizeable contingent in the Lebanese parliament as well as in its Cabinet, and in a letter to the EU, the government wrote “is an essential component of Lebanese society.”