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.