Nasrallah: Israel waging 'imaginary battle' against Iran in Syria

Hezbollah chief: Israel waging "imaginary battle" against Iranian troops in Syria, as Iran has sent only "military advisers and experts."


Hassan Nasrallah makes rare public appearance in 2008
Hassan Nasrallah makes rare public appearance in 2008

Lebanon's Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah charged Wednesday that Israel had been waging an "imaginary battle" against Iranian troops in Syria, insisting that Tehran had sent only "military
advisers and experts".

But he conceded that Israel was attacking targets "linked to missile production in Syria", saying the Jewish state feared that the manufacturing of "precision missiles" could spell "new dangers" for Israel.

Nasrallah also denied Iran and its allies were in a battle for influence with Russia in the neighboring country and said their chief aim was "preventing Syria from falling under the hegemony of America and Israel".

Last week, Israel's outgoing defense minister, Naftali Bennett, pledged to keep up operations until Iran leaves Syria.

But Nasrallah, in a televised speech, denied any Iranian troops were present in the war-torn country.

"In Syria there is an imaginary battle that Israel is waging, called 'not allowing the presence of Iranian military troops in Syria'," he said.

He said the Israelis were "attacking everything that is linked to missile production in Syria".

"They view the presence of Iran and resistance groups as a threat" against Israel in the future, he said.

Nasrallah said the Iranian experts were there with the aim of "advising and helping Syrian troops, and managing groups of Syrian, Arab and Islamic popular resistance forces".

"They train them, prepare them and manage them in ongoing battles," as well as handle "coordination with resistance movements including Hezbollah," he said.

The head of the terror group, however, mentioned "an exceptional case", when he said for two or three months Iranian troops took part in the battle for the northern city of Aleppo.

The Damascus regime expelled rebels from the city in late 2016 in a major blow to the armed opposition.

The Hezbollah chief also rejected the notion that the Damascus regime's allies Iran and Russia are in any power struggle in Syria.

"Iran is not waging a battle for influence with anybody, not with Russia... and not with anybody" else, he said.

"The Islamic republic's position in Syria has been clear and based on preventing Syria from falling under the hegemony of America and Israel," he added.