Syrian rebels 'can fight Hezbollah in Lebanon'

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Syrian rebels 'can fight Hezbollah in Lebanon'

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The military chief of the main umbrella group of Syrian rebels says his men are ready to fight Hezbollah militants inside neighbouring Lebanon.

Gen Selim Idriss of the Free Syrian Army told the BBC that Hezbollah fighters were “invading” Syria and that Lebanon was doing nothing to stop them.

Idriss denied rebels were losing the war, despite recent setbacks. He also said the rebels would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in a post-conflict Syria.

“If the price of peace is that Bashar still has the power in Syria, we don’t need that kind of peace,” he said.

He said he had told commanders, including those near the strategic town of Qusair, to fight Hezbollah militants “just inside Syria”.

But he added: “There are now a very large number of Hezbollah fighters in Syria, in Qusair, in Idlib, in Aleppo, in Damascus and I can say everywhere in the country.

“Hezbollah fighters are invading Syrian territory. And when they continue to do that and the Lebanese authorities don’t take any action to stop them coming to Syria, I think we are allowed to fight Hezbollah fighters inside [Lebanese] territory.”

Pro-government forces including Hezbollah fighters have been battling rebels for control of Qusair in recent days.