(Reuters) - The Lebanese Hezbollah movement strongly supports the
Syrian ceasefire agreed on in Kazakhstan and any truce that could lead
to a political solution, its leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on
Sunday. Moscow and Ankara brokered a shaky ceasefire in December between the Syrian government and rebel groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. The
agreement led to indirect talks last month in the Kazakh capital of
Astana, where Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed to monitor the fragile
senior Hezbollah commanders and hundreds of fighters have died in
Syria, where the Shi'ite Iranian-backed group is fighting in support of
strongly supports, not just the Astana ceasefire, any ceasefire agreed
upon in Syria," Nasrallah said, in order "to prevent bloodshed and pave
the way for political solutions". Nasrallah said the battle in Aleppo city had changed the path of the Syrian conflict, now in its sixth year. Syrian
government forces, helped by Russian air power and Iranian-backed
militia, drove rebel groups out of east Aleppo in December, in Assad's
most important gain of the war. "For
six years, Syria faced the risk of the collapse of the state,"
Nasrallah said in a televised speech. "This danger has been mostly
Aleppo kickstarted the Astana negotiations, "opened the door to a ceasefire...and to political talks in Geneva", he said. The next round of United Nations-sponsored talks on the Syrian conflict, now in its sixth year, have been scheduled for Feb. 20 in Geneva.
the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said government and rebel delegates have
been invited to attend meetings in Astana on Feb. 15-16. The
full recapture of Aleppo also prompted a series of "local
reconciliations in several areas in Syria," Nasrallah added, expressing
full support for such agreements.
Syrian government has been steadily suppressing armed opposition around
the capital, through sieges, army offensives, and local deals it
describes as reconciliations or settlements. Rebel groups and opponents
of Assad have assailed the deals as forcible displacement. Nasrallah
also urged the Lebanese government to work with the Syrian state over
the refugee crisis, and called for cooperation toward repatriating
Syrian refugees. At
least 1 million people fleeing neighboring Syria have poured into
Lebanon since the start of the conflict, which has killed hundreds of
thousands of people.
(Reporting by Ellen Francis; Editing by Toby Chopra and Hugh Lawson)