(jpost) Hezbollah would take over Beirut with Free Patriotic Movement fearing Israeli offensive in Lebanon.
Hezbollah may launch a military offensive to take over the Lebanese capital of Beirut if Syrian President Bashar Assad is forced out of power, Dubai-based Arabic-language news website Al Arabiya reported Tuesday according to a "source close to Hezbollah." According to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, despite an air of confidence in broadcasts from Hezbollah's Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, officials behind closed doors have begun to worry about the potential fallout that may result following the collapse of the Syrian regime, especially given the alliance between Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.
"The moment that Hezbollah feels that the fall of the Assad regime is imminent - either as a result of the popular movement or of foreign military intervention - it will move quickly to take control of East and West Beirut," the sources told Al Arabiya.
The source added that Hezbollah would receive support from the Free Patriotic Movement - a faction with eleven ministers in the Lebanese government - led by former Lebanese army commander Michel Aoun.
The source said that Hezbollah would seek to fortify itself in the nation's capital in order to defend itself against the threat posed by Israel, which may feel emboldened enough following the fall of Assad to launch an offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Hezbollah, a close ally of both Syria and Iran, has denounced any potential foreign intervention inside Syria. Nasrallah warned earlier this month in a televised speech to commemorate "Martyr's Day" that any attack on Syria or Iran would lead to an all-out regional war.
Israel has said that Iran has heavily armed Hezbollah by smuggling weapons through Syria. In August, as protests raged across Syria, Turkish officials seized Iranian arms that were transferred through Syria and reportedly en route to the militant Islamist group in Lebanon.