Last updated: 23 July, 2013

Syrian opposition wants Hezbollah leaders put on trial

Syria’s opposition on Tuesday welcomed the EU decision to blacklist Hezbollah’s military wing, while the Damascus regime denounced the move against its ally saying it would only serve Israel.

The National Coalition said blacklisting Hezbollah “is a step in the right direction and highlights the need for the European Union to take measures to stop (the) militia from intervening in Syria.”

Backed by Iran, Hezbollah’s fighters are fighting in Syria alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The Syrian foreign minister, however, lashed out at the European Union decision to put the military wing of its powerful Lebanese Shiite group on a terror list.

“Syria strongly condemns this decision and the powers that are behind it because it targets the present and future of the Arab nation… and serves Israel’s plans in the region,” a statement said.

The main opposition group also called for “Hezbollah officials to be brought to justice for the terrorist crimes they committed on Syrian soil”.

“The free world must take preventive measures against Hezbollah’s leaders, members and supporters, who participated in the spilling of Syrian blood,” said the Coalition.

Hezbollah fighters and Assad’s troops reclaimed last month the former rebel bastion of Qusayr in central Syria after a fierce and deadly battle with rebels.

Neither Damascus nor Hezbollah recognise the existence of a popular revolt in Syria, and have for more than two years blamed violence in the country on a foreign-backed conspiracy.

Monday’s EU decision came after some of its 28 foreign ministers overcame reservations in some member states that such a move would further destabilise Lebanon where the militant group is also represented in parliament and in the government.

To do so, ministers agreed that EU political and economic links with Lebanon would be maintained.