With the ongoing violence continue to engulf Syria, the United States today said Hezbollah is playing an integral role in the continued violence being carried out by the Assad regime against the Syrian population.
In a teleconference today at DC, Treasury Under Secretary David Cohenfor Terrorism and Financial Intelligence announced that the Treasury Department designated the terrorist group Hezbollah for providing support to the Government of Syria.
Mr. Cohen says the actions is certainly not the first time that Treasury or the United States has publicly exposed the violent acts of this terrorist organization.
According to Mr. Cohen, Hezbollah has been designated as a Global Terrorist by the United States since 1995 for a long history of terrorist attacks against American citizens and officials, including the bombing of the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Lebanon during the 1980s.
Before al-Qaida’s attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, Hezbollah was responsible for killing more Americans in terrorist attacks than any other terrorist group, Mr. Cohen highlighted.
Hezbollah started out carrying out bombings and kidnappings in Lebanon but quickly expanded its violent campaign on to a global stage, carrying out and supporting terrorist attacks in South America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and various countries in the Middle East, he added.
“More recently we have seen the group’s plotting disrupted in Azerbaijan, Egypt, Thailand, and Cyprus.” -Mr. Cohen
He reports that Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah have for years painted their organization as a social and political party as well as a resistance movement.
However, Mr. Cohen pointed out that Hezbollah’s activities and statements clearly paint a different picture.
Hezbollah has consistently used terrorist operations to attack civilians, he cited.
Mr. Cohen says Hezbollah is now actively providing support to the Assad regime as it carries out its bloody campaign against the Syrian people.
He cites that ss the wave of revolt has spread across the Middle East, Hezbollah leadership has publicly supported some protests where it suited their needs, particularly Syria where it has actively supported the violent crackdown being carried out by the Syrian dictatorship.
Mr. Cohenn notes that for years the Assad regime provided safe haven to Hezbollah training camps and routed weapons and money, in many cases, from Iran to Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon.
Hezbollah is now repaying its debt to Assad by providing training, advice, and extensive logistical support to the Government of Syria, Mr. Cohen emphasized.
According to Mr. Cohen, since the start of the unrest in Syria in early 2011, Hezbollah has directly trained Syrian Government personnel inside Syria and has facilitated the training of Syrian forces by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qods Force.
“Hezbollah has also played a substantial role in efforts to expel Syrian opposition forces from areas within Syria.” -Mr. Cohen
The United States has previously taken a number of actions that have exposed Iran’s involvement in the Assad regime’s violent crackdown on the Syrian people, including by designating the IRGC Qods Force and its commander, Ghasem Soleimani, as well as Iran’s law enforcement forces and its Ministry of Intelligence and Security.
He underlines that as the Assad regime continues to crack under international pressure and the continued success of the Syrian opposition, the Treasury Department and the entire U.S. Government will continue to work to expose the activities of Hezbollah and Iran and whoever else is responsible for assisting the Syrian regime in its campaign of violence against the Syrian population.
Reports say that Hezbollah remains one of the embattled regime’s few close partners.
The United States asserts that Hezbollah and their Iranian allies have been providing a range of critical support for the Assad regime, including training, advice, and logistical assistance as the regime continues its brutal crackdown against the Syrian people.
The US government believes that these continuing close ties in this time of crisis reflect the longstanding and deep relationship between Hezbollah and Syria.
The U.S. designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in 1999. Canada, the United Kingdom and Israel have similarly labelled the group.
Hezbollah was created with Iran’s aid nearly 30 years ago, is one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist organizations with a record of deadly attacks and foiled attempts in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
In addition, reports say Hezbollah has been implicated in terrorist plots in two EU countries particularly Bulgaria and Cyprus as well as in other attempts from Kenya to Thailand.
The violence in Syria, which began in March 2011 as a protest movement similar to those witnessed across the Middle East and North Africa, has claimed over 10,000 lives, mostly civilians, and displaced tens of thousands.