The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah says Syrian rebels will not be able to defeat President Bashar Assad's regime, strongly suggesting his Iranian-backed militant group could intervene on the government's side if the need arises.

Sheik Hassan Nasrallah says Damascus "has real friends in the region and the world who will not allow Syria to fall into the hands of America or Israel."

Hezbollah and Iran are close allies of Assad.

Nasrallah said Tuesday that now there are now no Iranian forces in Syria but added: "What do you imagine would happen in the future if things deteriorate in a way that requires the intervention of the forces of resistance in this battle?"

Syria's opposition accuses Hezbollah of fighting alongside Syrian government troops trying to crush the 2-year-old Syrian uprising.