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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hariri Vows No Surrender to 'Iranian and Syrian Regimes'

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Lebanon's Sunni Muslim leader Saad al-Hariri pledged on Tuesday that there would be no political surrender to what he called a bid by Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian backers to impose their will on the nation by force.

The Shiite Hezbollah group and its opposition allies have routed supporters of the Sunni-led government in Beirut and hills to the east in fighting that has pushed Lebanon to the brink of a new civil war.

"They simply are demanding that we surrender, they want Beirut to raise white flags. … This is impossible," Hariri told a news conference in his first public appearance since Hezbollah swept through Sunni-dominated areas of the capital last week.

"They will not be able to obtain Saad al-Hariri's signature … on a deed to surrender to the Iranian and Syrian regimes."

Lebanon experienced its calmest day since violence broke out on May 7 after U.S.-backed Prime Minister Fouad Siniora outlawed Hezbollah's communications network and fired Beirut airport's security chief, who is close to the Shiite group.

Hezbollah said this was a declaration of war and swiftly took over much of Beirut, crushing pro-government Sunni Muslim gunmen. It then handed over its gains to the army.

Hariri's Future TV, forced off the air during the battles, resumed broadcasting shortly before the news conference.

Hariri, son of slain ex-premier Rafik al-Hariri, said the two decisions, now a dead letter, were no threat to Hezbollah.

"This was not an attack on Hezbollah. This was a decision made by Iran and Syria to attack Lebanon, to take Lebanon over and put it in Syrian-Iranian hands," the business magnate said.