Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, has warned of an “operation” that “exists” in order to revive Daesh in Iraq, Syria, and other areas.
“Daesh’s revival is aimed at justifying the American forces’ continued presence in the region”, Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Tuesday. He did not elaborate on who was behind the alleged operation.
The Hezbollah leader also claimed that Daesh had managed to expand its foothold in several regional areas after Washington’s assassination of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in early January.
The general died in a 3 January US drone strike on his car at Baghdad International Airport, an attack that was authorised by President Donald Trump and that exacerbated the Washington-Tehran tensions.
The developments followed President Donald Trump, who had previously announced his intention to withdraw all US forces from north-eastern Syria, saying last year that some American troops would remain there to "guard oil" from Daesh militants.
The visit came after US Vice President Mike Pence claimed the full-fledged destruction of Daesh, adding that the US is "now able to hand off the fight against ISIS [Daesh] to our coalition partners" after the terrorist group's caliphate "crumbled".
The US-led coalition, made up of dozens of countries, has been conducting airstrikes and carrying out ground-based as well as rocket-propelled artillery fire against Daesh in Syria and Iraq since 2014. The coalition’s operation in Syria has not been approved by either Damascus or the UN Security Council.
*Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State), a terrorist group banned in Russia and a number of other countries