Using his usual defiant tone, Nasrallah also warned the rebels: “you will not be able to overthrow the regime by military means.” Further threats followed: the fact that they do not exist today does not mean they will not get there if necessary; “can you imagine what would happen in the future if things deteriorate to a point that requires the intervention of more resistance forces? Do not hesitate to go to Syria”. The “Party of God”´s leader traced a red line: an attack on the shrine of Sayyida Zainab in honor of Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter, nearby Damascus (in Iraq, the destruction of a Shiite shrine in 2006 lead to years of sectarian bloodletting between Shiites and Sunni Muslims) . That would make the situation spiral “out of control”, said Nasrallah. Today, about a thousand members of Hezbollah protect the building. Another 2,000 volunteers are apparently posted in Damascus, while between 800 and 1,000 fight near Al-Qusayr (data from AFP).
Hezbollah has, since the start of the conflict, denied any kind of involvement in the Syrian conflict and has remarkably restrained in keeping Lebanon out of the conflict. Why would Nasrallah threaten wider Hezbollah intervention in Syria now? The most likely reason would be internal politics, for he is losing control of Hezbollah now that Iran is pulling more and more of its fighters into combat to support the Syrian regime offensive. We also have to take into account Lebanon is nowadays facing a huge power vacuum after the resignation of its Prime Minister, in which the Shiite organization had a lot to do. Hezbollah is at the same time undoubtedly afraid of the loss of a strategic ally in the region, that would become even more serious if Iran comes under attack throughout the coming months. That would on the one hand weaken Hezbollah´s military capability, one of its strongest leverages, and would on the other hand upset a strategic balance that has been in force in the region for decades, a balance which is already very frail. Nonetheless, many in Lebanon, even amongst its supporters, are wary of Hezbollah´s intentions and moves, as the are directly linked to Lebanon´s already fragile stability and might end up in another descent into violence Lebanese are not ready to endure again.
Many believe the organization has felt somewhat forced to acknowledge its involvement now, in the face of a ramping number of funerals of Hezbollah martyrs. The militia´s involvement seems to have escalated mostly throughout the last ten days, and has spread over new areas further north, namely in Al-Qusayr, where Hezbollah has never had a deep presence and cannot thus claim it is defending its partisans. The organization´s aim aim seems to be maintaining a corridor with access to the sea through Syrian ports in order to allow the smuggling of Iranian weapons (which will probably later target Israel, even though Nasrallah denied their attacking the Jewish state with a drone) into Lebanon. Liberating certain rebel-held territories is also crucial to prepare a possible retreat of Assad and his allies to coastal towns around Latakia.
Most Hezbollah militants, who form what they call “popular committees”, believe it is their moral and national duty, and fight in the name of God, in the name of their beliefs and their allegiance. But some fighters decided to participate in this war because their land was being attacked and their people were being murdered by the Syrian rebels, notably in northern Lebanon, where Tripoli has become a small-scale testing bench of the Syrian conflict.