Gulf Arab states are punishing Hezbollah for its role in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad by expelling Lebanese citizens with linked to the group, RTE reported.

Some deportees are claiming they’ve had no ties to the terrorist organization, and are only being punished for their following Shiite Islam in the largely Sunni Gulf states.

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During a meeting of senior Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) security officials in Riyadh Thursday, the undersecretary of Bahrain’s Interior Ministry, Major General Khaled al-Absi, said the move against the deportees came after the “discovery of several Hezbollah terror cells in the Gulf states, their involvement in training of terror groups … and their flagrant involvement in Syria.”

Admitting the deportations were likely to punish the innocent along with the guilty, Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, an Emirati political scientist, didn’t seem heartbroken: “Unfortunately, some people will pay the price without being involved,” he said.

“But Hezbollah should be held responsible for this. Hezbollah left its national boundary and interfered in a purely Syrian matter with brazenness and stubbornness. This should not be left unheeded,” he added.

The Sunni Muslim Gulf countries, led by Saudi Arabia, have supported Syrian rebels with arms and money in their effort to take down Assad, who is an ally of Iran, which, in turn, poses a major threat to the Gulf countries.

The expulsions are yet another example of how the war in Syria has been flaming the age-old hatred between Sunni and Shiite Muslims throughout the Middle East.

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