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November 14, 2013

Hezbollah Leader Says Militants Will Continue Fighting in Syria

by VOA News

The leader of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has pledged to keep his fighters in Syria as long as necessary.

In a rare public appearance Thursday, Hassan Nasrallah told thousands of Shi'ites in southern Beirut that Hezbollah is helping to defend neighboring Syria as rebels try to oust President Bashar al-Assad. 

"As long as the reasons are there, our presence will remain there," he said. "The problem in Lebanon as always, they turn results into a reason and they ignore the reasons. They speak about our retreat, I need to be precise and clear, and whoever speaks about the retreat of Hezbollah from Syria as a precondition for the formation of a Lebanese government is putting forward a precondition that is destructive."

The proclamation comes as violence continues to plague Syria.

Syrian state-run media said at least one person was killed and several more injured after multiple explosions near a market in Damascus Thursday.

Also Thursday, President Assad spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  A statement from the Kremlin said Mr. Putin praised Syria's progress on eliminating its chemical weapons while discussing the prospects for a new round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva.

Hezbollah fighters have openly fought in Syria since earlier this year, playing a role in recapturing a town along the Lebanese border and in fighting rebels around Damascus.