Lebanese army recaptures third of IS stronghold of Ras Baalbek — BBCI

Tomas Mccoy
August 21, 2017

This frame grab from video provided by the Lebanese Army official website, shows army soldiers firing towards Islamic State militant positions, on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek, northeast Lebanon, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.

The offensive is aimed at ridding the area of IS militants who are armed with anti-aircraft and armour-piercing missiles and drones, the Lebanese army said.

"A landmine exploded in Jurud Arsal on [Sunday] afternoon, resulting in the death of three soldiers and the serious injury of one", the Lebanese army said. "The army has succeeded in eliminating a very large part of their men and equipment".

Lebanon's military estimated around 600 Daesh fighters were present in the Jurud Ras Baalbek and Jurud al-Qaa areas, controlling around 120 square kilometers of territory before Saturday's advances.

The army's assault comes after Lebanon's powerful Shiite militant group Hizbollah waged its own campaign against jihadists operating in another border area south of the current battle.

This offensive further deepens the relationship between President Bashar Assad's regime, Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army. The Lebanese army said it was not coordinating the assault with Hezbollah or the Syrian army.

The extremist group is now falling back deeper into the Euphrates Valley region of eastern Syria.

The reporter added that the army operations destroyed a number of ISIL fortifications, killing and injuring a number of the terrorists.

"It's the most hard battle so far waged by the Lebanese army against terrorist groups - the nature of the terrain and the enemy", Kanso said.

In a separate statement Hezbollah said that it had started a joint operation against terror groups with Syrian army inside Syrian territory.

"The terrorists are now being humiliated", he said, adding, "The military operation will continue until the targets are met, the terrorists are expelled and soldiers are deployed along the borders". Hezbollah has been fighting alongside Assad's forces since 2013.

The Lebanese military managed to destroy auto and motorcycle bombs carrying terrorists which allowed Lebanese forces to avoid more casualties, the statement added. 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.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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