Lebanon-based activist: ‘Everyone here is afraid of a civil war happening’


June 27, 2013

June 27, 2013

Ahmed al-Seyad, 25, is originally from Daraa. He fled to Lebanon after regime forces sought to arrest him multiple times for his pro-opposition activism. Al-Sayd has a brother who was in the Syrian Army but is currently missing, and the rest of his family are all still in Syria. He discusses the spillover effect the Syrian war is having inside Lebanon with Nuha Shabaan.

Q: Do you think that the war in Syria will spill over into Lebanon because of Hezbollah’s overt intervention in Syria?

A: In terms of the spillover of fighting into Lebanon, it has already spilled over into some regions, most of all Tripoli, which is ablaze. There is a great fear of the fighting spilling over into other regions as well, especially the [Hezbollah-controlled] southern suburbs [of Beirut]. Some people are saying that Hezbollah partisans are carrying out daily inspections in that area because they fear the entrance of gunmen.

Q: What is the feeling on the ground in Lebanon today in light of the Hezbollah intervention in Syria?

A: Everyone here is afraid of a civil war happening, for the specter of war has never left them.

The Shi’ites inside Lebanon are divided. Some of them fight for their doctrine, but the pain of the July War [of 2006] has not left others, who lost a lot [in that war] and therefore do not want Hezbollah to intervene in Syria.

Many Lebanese students and youth, both Sunni and Shi’ite, have rallied in Beirut, most of whom have faced beatings and attacks. They condemn Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria, which is for the sake of defending religious sanctity as well as those Lebanese villages located inside Syrian territory that have been assaulted by Jabhat al-Nast and Al-Qaeda. It is for these reasons that Hezbollah intervenes.

The state of Syrian refugees in Lebanon is among the worst situations [for refugees] among Syria’s neighbors. We see here discrimination and poor treatment.

Q: How do you see the reaction of the Lebanese government about Hezbollah’s intervention?

A: The Lebanese government is living on another planet effectively controlled by Hezbollah…Hezbollah is the “boss” in Lebanon. As you know, it controls a third of the Lebanese government. The government’s stance might change. There has been some withdrawal of support for Hezbollah, and yesterday, the Change and Reform Bloc led by Michel Aoun withdrew.

I believe that Hezbollah’s participation in the Syrian war involves the Lebanese people in a civil war, and Lebanon does not support this.

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