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Hezbollah warns of helping Assad

| Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 9:36 p.m.

The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group said on Tuesday that Syrian rebels will not be able to defeat President Bashar Assad's regime militarily, warning that Syria's “real friends,” including his Iranian-backed militant group, were ready to intervene on the government's side.

In Damascus, a powerful bomb ripped through a bustling commercial district, killing at least 14 people and bringing Syria's civil war to the heart of the capital for the second consecutive day.

Hezbollah, a powerful Shiite Muslim group, is known to back Syrian regime fighters in Shiite villages near the Lebanon border against the mostly Sunni rebels fighting to topple Assad.

The comments by Sheik Hassan Nasrallah were the strongest indication yet that his group was ready to get far more involved to rescue Assad's embattled regime.

“You will not be able to take Damascus by force and you will not be able to topple the regime militarily. This is a long battle,” Nasrallah said, addressing the Syrian opposition.

“Syria has real friends in the region and in the world who will not allow Syria to fall into the hands of America or Israel.”

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