U.S. Calls on Hizbullah to Pull Fighters Out of Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

The U.S. State Department called on Lebanon’s Hizbullah militia on Wednesday to withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately, saying their involvement on the side of President Bashar al-Assad signaled a dangerous broadening of the war.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemned the declaration last weekend by the leader of the Lebanese terrorist movement, Hasran Nasrallah. He confirmed his combatants were in Syria and vowed they would stay in the war “to the end of the road.”

“This is an unacceptable and extremely dangerous escalation. We demand that Hizbullah withdraw its fighters from Syria immediately,” Psaki  said at a daily news briefing.

Hizbullah ’s participation in a battle at the town of Qusair on the Syrian-Lebanese border risks dragging Lebanon into a conflict that has become overshadowed by Sunni-Shi’ite sectarian violence.

Meanwile, France said on Wednesday its intelligence services believed 3-4,000 terrorists from Lebanon’s Hizbullah militia fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s army in Syria’s civil war.

“As far as Hizbullah militants present in the battlefield, the figures range from 3,000 to 10,000, our estimates are between 3,000 and 4,000,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told lawmakers.