Lebanese army, Hezbollah announce offensives against Islamic State on Syrian border

Lebanese army, Hezbollah announce offensives against Islamic State on Syrian border

The army says around 600 IS fighters were deployed in the Jurud Ras Baalbek and Jurud al-Qaa areas and controlled around 120 square kilometres of territory before the latest advances. According to Hezbolah TV station Al-Manar, the fighters were operating from strategic positions in the Mosul Mountains, overlooking unofficial border crossings used by the jihadists.

This is a fight the historically weak and divided Lebanese army can not afford to lose, said Aram Nerguizian in an analysis for the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies late last month.

A controversial visit by a Lebanese ministerial delegation to the Syrian capital began on Wednesday, with the two sides pledging to boost economic ties, Reuters reported.

Brigadier General Qansowa, spokesman of the Lebanese army, while addressing a press conference on Saturday said that military operations would continue until Daesh terrorists were expelled from his country.

"There is no coordination, neither with Hezbollah nor with the Syrian army", he said.

More news: Cincinnati Masters: Kyrgios beats Nadal to reach semis, Pliskova into semis

The Lebanese military said that 20 ISIS militants were killed in the military operation, and 10 of their own soldiers were wounded. The policy has aimed to keep the deeply divided state out of regional conflicts such as Syria, even as Iran-backed Hezbollah got heavily involved there. Today around 30 square kilometers [11.8 square miles] have been cleared [from terrorists].

The offensive comes after Lebanon's powerful Shiite militant group Hezbollah waged a six-day assault against IS and al-Qaeda's former affiliate in the Jurud Arsal area.

A key political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused the US-led coalition of seeking to fragment Syria, saying the plan will fail. Hezbollah has been fighting alongside Assad's forces since 2013. Its Lebanese critics oppose Hezbollah's role in the Syrian war. Many rebels, alongside thousands of Sunni refugees fleeing violence and Hezbollah's control over their towns, took shelter on the Lebanese side of the border strip.

Northeastern Lebanon was the scene of one of the worst spillovers of Syria's war into Lebanon in 2014, when Daesh and Nusra militants attacked the town of Arsal.

Related Articles