Lebanon takes strategic high ground from ISIS along Syrian border

by WorldTribune Staff, August 7, 2017

Lebanon’s army on Aug. 7 said it had captured several strategic hilltops from Islamic State (ISIS) at the border with Syria.

Smoke at the Syria-Lebanon border. / Reuters

In taking several hills between the frontier towns of Ras Baalbek and Arsal, the army destroyed ISIS fortifications and killed several jihadists, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, had announced on Aug. 4 that Lebanon’s army would lead the fight to drive ISIS from the border region “once and for all.”

Hizbullah’s alliance with Syrian President Bashar Assad has led to the civil war spilling over into Lebanon. ISIS and the Al Qaida-linked group formerly known as Nusra Front have carried out several deadly suicide bomb attacks in Lebanon.

Fateh al-Sham Front, the current name of Nusra Front, agreed to vacate the border region in July, following a two-weeks-long military operation spearheaded by Hizbullah on the Lebanese side and the Syrian army on the other, according to a report by The Associated Press.

More than 1,000 jihadists were given safe passage to Fateh al-Sham’s stronghold in northwest Syria’s Idlib province, the report said, adding that some 6,000 Syrian refugees accompanied them, preferring not to stay in Lebanon.

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