Hezbollah has buried hundreds of its fighters in mass graves in Syria to avoid a backlash from the victims’ families and maintain high morale among its combatants, Syrian oppositionists claimed on Wednesday.
Moayyed Ghazlan, a member of the Syrian National Council general secretariat, told CNN Arabic that his organization has discovered a number of mass graves in which Hezbollah buries its fighters following each battle with the rebels in order not to return the bodies for official burial in Lebanon.
“These graveyards serve two purposes,” Ghazlan explained. “The first is not to scare the families of victims and thus avoid strong reactions in Lebanese public opinion, and the second is to hide the true extent of casualties from the fighters and rebels in Syria.”
Ghazlan provided CNN with photos of freshly dug graves with cardboard name plaques, as a number of Twitter commentators questioned the authenticity of the photos.
SNC media adviser Mohammed Sarmini told Saudi daily Okaz on Wednesday that the graveyard is located in the Syrian village of Rableh, just south of the border city of Qusayr, which Hezbollah helped the Assad regime reconquer from rebels on June 5.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah publicly admitted in May for the first time that his combatants were involved in fighting alongside the Assad regime in Syria, following months of hushed funerals in southern Lebanese villages.
”Syria is the back of the resistance, and the resistance cannot stand, arms folded, while its back is broken,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
But Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria, contravening Lebanon’s stated policy of nonintervention, has angered many in the country’s political scene. An EU decision this week to include the organization’s military wing in the European list of terror organizations is widely viewed as a direct consequence of Hezbollah’s decision to send troops to Syria.
”This decision will harm Lebanon and the Lebanese as much as it will harm its direct targets,” lamented opposition daily Al-Mustaqbal on Tuesday.
Nasrallah was expected to deliver a public speech Wednesday evening, voicing his first public comments since the EU terror designation.