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

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

Lebanese army soldiers now waging an offensive on Islamic State group jihadists near the border with Syria were pictured raising the Spanish flag on a recaptured militant position, in solidarity with the country following an IS-claimed terror attack in Barcelona.

Lebanon suffered its first casualties from a massive operation to drive the Islamic State group from an area along the Syrian border on Sunday when a roadside bomb killed three soldiers.

Military says it is not coordinating with Syrian army regarding operations against ISIL near Ras Baalbek.

The offensive on the Lebanese- Syrian border has been planned for weeks, according to comments Lebanese Army Brig.

It said 10 Lebanese soldiers were wounded.

Isis claimed responsibility for the attack that day.

The visit has challenged Lebanon's purportedly neutral policy toward the "war next door" and has steered Lebanon toward deeper engagement with the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

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.

Additionally, Bachir Matar, the head of the municipality of the town of al-Qaa, hailed Lebanon's long-awaited military campaign, saying, "We consider it pivotal, the Lebanese army is liberating our land of Lebanon and Qaa".

Security along Lebanon's eastern border with Syria has always been a concern, and in 2014 jihadists invaded the town of Arsal and kidnapped 30 Lebanese soldiers and police.

"There is no specific time on when the operation will end, but we will continue until we wipe out Daesh inside Lebanese territories", Boueid said, using an Arabic acronym to refer to the group. Gen. Ali Qanso said in a press conference at the Defence Ministry. The operation which began both sides of the frontier is supported by Hezbollah, engaged in fighting against the menace in several Syrian areas for last many years. The U.S.is a key patron of the Lebanese army.

The operation ended with a ceasefire that saw around 8,000 refugees and jihadists transported to a jihadist-held area of northwestern Syria in return for the release of five captured Hezbollah fighters.

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