Israel-Syria Clash

Israel Helping ISIS, Hezbollah Leader Says After Israeli Attack in Syria

Israel claimed responsibility for Friday attack in Syria, with Netanyahu saying it would not allow arms from Syria to reach Hezbollah.

An image grab taken from Hezbollah's al-Manar TV on March 18, 2017 shows Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon's militant Shiite movement Hezbollah, giving a televised address from an undisclosed location in Lebanon.
An image grab taken from Hezbollah's al-Manar TV on March 18, 2017 shows Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Lebanon's militant Shiite movement Hezbollah, giving a televised address from an undisclosed loca HO/AFP

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday accused Israel of helping ISIS in Syria by carrying out airstrikes in the country.

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Nasrallah made the remarks a day after the Israel Air Force struck targets in Syria. In response, Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime fired a number of missiles toward Israeli jets. It was the most serious clash between the two countries since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war six years ago and the first time Israel took responsibility for an attack in Syria.

Israeli soldiers stand on a field overlooking Syria in the Golan Heights March 19, 2014
REUTERS

Speaking on Muslim Women's Day, Nasrallah said that Israel finds pretenses to intervene in Syria to help ISIS and other terrorist groups in the country. "Israel always finds an excuse to intervene, whether it's striking weapons meant for Hezbollah, like they claimed yesterday, or mortar shells hitting the occupied Syrian Golan."

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He claimed that Israel is afraid of an ISIS defeat because it would mean victory for Hezbollah.

"Netanyahu crawled up to Putin, he begged the Russian president because he's afraid of an ISIS defeat," he said. "He knows that an ISIS defeat means victory for the resistance axis and Hezbollah, and a loss for Israel which supported [ISIS] over the past six years."

Fighters of the Shiite Hezbollah movement attend the funeral of a comrade who died in combat in Syria during his funeral in the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Hatta on March 18, 2017.
MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP

Nasrallah didn't confirm whether Friday's strike hit a Hezbollah weapons convoy. Netanyahu said Friday that Israel will continue act to make sure that advanced arms from Syria won't make it to Lebanon.

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Regarding ISIS, Nasrallah said the organization would be defeated in Iraq within a couple of weeks and said it had no future in Syria.

Nasrallah noted that the fighting in Syria is heading towards a conclusion and victory for the regime. He blamed Arab nations for spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the war in Syria, saying the money would have been better spent aiding the Palestinians and rebuilding the Gaza Strip, or helping Somalia and Yemen: "They poured money and ammunition to topple the regime in Syria and remove us from the axis of resistance."

Iran also condemned Israel's attack in Syria, with its Foreign Ministry saying it was proof that Israel's interests coincide with those of the "terrorists" in Syria, a term usually used to mean ISIS and anti-regime Islamists in Syria.