Lebanese army continues anti-IS operation for third day

by Steven Clarke August 22, 2017, 0:10
Lebanese army continues anti-IS operation for third day

Three Lebanese soldiers were killed Sunday when a mine exploded under their vehicle in the east of the country along the border with Syria, the army said in a statement.

The Lebanese army seized 80 of 120 square kilometers from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters along its north-eastern border with Syria in its ongoing "Jroud Dawn" military operation, which began 5am (0200 GMT) Saturday.

In a display of solidarity after Thursday's Barcelona attack, Lebanese soldiers raised a Spanish flag alongside their own on a Syrian-Lebanese border hill seized from the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

The Lebanese army has successfully recaptured an IS stronghold, known as Ras Baalbeck, near Lebanon's north-eastern border shared with Syria. Washington classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah's media bureau reported later on Saturday that Daesh terrorists had started laying down their arms and surrendering themselves to the resistance movement and the Syrian army in Zamrani crossing in Syria's Qalamoun region.

The Lebanese military said that 20 ISIS militants were killed in the military operation, and 10 of their own soldiers were wounded.

Her remarks came as the US-led coalition is throwing a heavy support behind the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is fighting the IS in Raqqa.

Last month, Hezbollah concluded a joint counter-terrorism campaign with the Syrian army at Lebanon's highlands of Arsal. The U.S.is a key patron of the Lebanese army. It also later showed a group of ISIL fighters who had allegedly handed themselves over to their forces.

President Bashar Assad's military has advanced against Daesh along two prongs towards Deir Al Zor province this year, leaving a large extremist salient stretching back west between them.

Critics oppose Hezbollah's role in the war.

Northeastern Lebanon was the scene of one of the worst spillovers from Syria's civil war in 2014 when Islamic State and Nusra Front militants attacked the town of Arsal.

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