In an interview with Al Mayadeen TV, Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General, Sheikh Naaim Qassem said that his group has decided that at this moment, the Lebanese group will not reveal what it will do exactly in response to the killing of one of its men in an Israeli airstrike on Damascus in recent days.
‘The Israelis can (understand) and calculate from (this stance) what they wish’, Qaasem added.
Hezbollah’s deputy leader also strongly condemned the America military’s recent interception of a civilian Iranian passenger plane carrying Lebanese passengers, which led to the serious injury of many of them.
Qassem said that this was ‘American state terrorism’ that runs contrary to international law and human rights charters.
The Americans sought with this crime to announce their military presence in Syria, and to send the message that there will not be a solution to the conflict in the Arab country (any time soon), Qaasem added.
Source: Al Mayadeen TV (YouTube)
Date: 26 July, 2020
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Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General, Sheikh Naeem Qaasem:
(In response to Israeli killing of Hezbollah member in Syria)
What occurred in Syria is an aggression that led to the martyrdom of the mujahid Ali Kamil Mohsen. We have surely studied this issue, and we decided that we will not announce what we will do (exactly in response). The Israelis can (understand) and calculate from (this stance) what they wish. For this reason, at this moment, there is no answer to this question (of our exact response and its timing), while (we) await the coming days.
Sheikh Qaasem: Period.
Your eminence Sheikh (Qaasem), regarding the rules of engagement that you have delineated, and which have been specified by the Secretary General of Hezbollah, his eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah i.e. ‘any (Israeli) targeting of (any) one of our cadres in Syria, leading to his martyrdom, will incur a direct response’. This is the rule of engagement (with Israel). Are you committed to this rule?
I will not reply to this question in an indirect way. However, there is something clear to all: that (this) rule of engagement with Israel still stands. Subsequently, we have no intention of altering or changing this rule of engagement, no matter how much Israel tries to change it.
This is based on the fact that Lebanon cannot be protected from Israeli aggression except via the rules of engagement that (Hezbollah) has established after the year 2006. What safeguarded Lebanon for these past 14 years is the existence of a deterrence, the (serious) nature of which the Israelis know very well, and the Israelis also know very well that Lebanon is not a forsaken land, and that they cannot do with it whatever they please.
If here we are talking about the rules of engagement, then (I can confirm) that there are no changes in the rules of engagement.
Host: Absolutely no change…
As for the incident (targeting our cadre in Syria) itself, there is no (explicit) answer (at this moment), and what we will do may appear at the appropriate time.
(US military’s interception of Iranian civilian passenger plane)
The Lebanese government must express its opinion on this issue, and to announce its stance towards this incident, because the plane was holding Lebanese (citizens), and the plane reached Beirut airport. This means that (the Lebanese government) is directly concerned with this issue.
I do not know if at the next meeting of government ministers they will come out with a stance, yet we as Hezbollah have announced our stance, and we said clearly that this is a terrorist act, and this is American state terrorism that is reoccurring in various forms.
Is it conceivable that a civilian plane is attacked by two warplanes, as the civilian plane is running its normal course from Tehran to Beirut? This act runs contrary to international law, human rights charters, and all standards.
What I understood is that the Iranian officials intend to submit a complaint on the international level via the United Nations Security Council and these known channels. We (as Hezbollah) issued the required stance.
Yes, it is required that the entire international community, and that all forces – including the Lebanese government – at the very least express their objection to this act, based on the principle that such (sovereign and civilian) cannot be the place for sending (political and military) messages, nor for carrying out aggression. Whoever wishes to settle scores can go carry out attacks on (military-related) personnel and we will then see the result.
Do you have an idea regarding the motives of the Americans for carrying out such an action?
I don’t have detailed information, it has not become available to us as yet. It is clear that the Americans wish to say that ‘we are here, in the Tanaf region of Syria’, and they are imposing a type of (military) control to imply that in Syria there will be no solution; they will not allow the solution to arise. They have carved out an area of the land and imposed a no-fly-zone to protect and reassure Israel in actual fact. It is also aimed at giving the ability and safe zones for forces who attacked and ruined Syria, just like the other safe zones in Idlib and the north (of Syria) that are sponsored by America in various ways.