The forces of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah have made fresh gains in the mountainous region near the Syrian border, liberating areas previously controlled by the Takfiri terrorists of the al-Nusra Front.
Hezbollah’s al-Manar news channel said on Thursday that Hezbollah fighters managed to take control of the strategic border crossing of al-Darb southwest of the town of Arsal.
The fighters have taken control of the crossing, which was previously used by the militants for transferring explosives into the Lebanese village of Labweh.
Manar released a video of the operation showing Hezbollah fighters also seizing full control of the area of Wadi al-Darb and the al-Rahwe checkpoint after engaging in fierce clashes with the Nusra militants in orchards surrounding Arsal. The news channel said Hezbollah forces “are advancing toward al-Rahwe plains.”
The footage showed Hezbollah fighters placing the group’s yellow flag on a hilltop which was retaken from the terrorists.
A later report by Manar said Hezbollah has destroyed a vehicle transporting militants from al-Rahwe toward Wadi al-Khayl on the outskirts of Arsal, killing all the militants on board.
The fresh gains came as Hezbollah fighters managed to kill scores of militants Wednesday in the porous border region west of Syria, seizing control of 15 major positions south and north of Arsal’s outskirts.
Hezbollah’s new push to liberate areas around Arsal comes after the group’s month-long operation in the neighboring mountainous region of Qalamoun, where the resistance fighters managed to liberate scores of hilltops and destroyed the hideouts of militants.
The operation in Arsal is important for Hezbollah from the national perspective, as the resistance movement seeks to free more than two dozen of Lebanese servicemen captured by terrorist groups in the region.
The Lebanese servicemen were taken hostage during clashes in Arsal in August 2014. Militants took more than 30 soldiers and policemen hostage in the five-day fighting with the Lebanese army and security forces, of whom 25 still remain in captivity on the town’s outskirts.
Beirut says army will support Arsal operations
On Thursday, Lebanese Information Minister Ramzi Joreige said the army has been tasked by the government to come up with the “best assessment” of the situation in Arsal and the surrounding areas.
Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah had earlier said that if the Lebanese army fails to take a decisive action in Arsal, the resistance movement would not hesitate to move to purge the region from terrorists.
Thousands of Nusra militants as well as members of the Takfiri ISIL terrorist group are believed to be operating on the outskirts of Arsal while new reports suggest a large number of militants from Syria are also heading there to counter Hezbollah’s advance.