Lebanon’s Hezbollah formally announces end to Arsal operation
Hezbollah has formally announced an end to a security operation aimed at clearing the Lebanese town of Arsal on the border with Syria of al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front terrorists.
In a statement on Thursday, the Lebanese resistance movement said its fighters had regained control over all areas in Arsal, which lies 124km northeast of Beirut, and flushed all militants out of the region.
Media reports earlier confirmed that fighters from Hezbollah were seen manning positions around the Syrian town of Flita, near the Lebanese border.
The announcement comes days after Hezbollah and the Syrian army launched an offensive to drive out militants from their last stronghold in the border area between the two countries.
Hezbollah fighters have now moved into the areas after terrorists of Nusra Front, now known as Fateh al-Sham Front, withdrew following a series of consecutive defeats, which forced them to agree to a ceasefire.
Under the deal, Syrian government will shuttle the militants and their families to Idlib Province and some other areas. About 7,000 militants and members of their families left Arsal on Wednesday.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said their convoy had arrived in the Hama countryside in Syria and that preparations had begun to transfer them to another area.
Hezbollah chief, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said last week that the liberation of the border region, known for its harsh geographical features, by Hezbollah forces and their allies in the Lebanese and Syrian armies was indeed a great achievement.
Nasrallah also hailed the sacrifices made by the Lebanese military in the fight against terrorists, saying the army proved that it was a real partner for the resistance.
He said Lebanon’s military and security officials played a major role in the operation and facilitated victories against the Nusra Front terrorists.
Nasrallah said the operation to recapture the border area was almost complete and nearly 100 percent of the territories that were under the control of Takfiri terrorists were liberated.
Hezbollah launched a major push in mid-July to clear both sides of Lebanon’s border with Syria of armed terrorists.
In August 2014, Fateh al-Sham Front and Daesh terrorists overran Arsal, killing a number of Lebanese soldiers and taking 30 others hostage, most of whom have now been released.
Since then, Hezbollah and the Lebanese military have been defending Lebanon on the country’s northeastern frontier against foreign-backed terrorist groups from neighboring Syria.
Hezbollah fighters have fended off several Daesh attacks inside Lebanon. They have also been providing assistance to Syrian army forces to counter the ongoing foreign-sponsored militancy.