Lebanese army on alert for battle with Daesh

Author: NAJIA HOUSSARI | Special to Arab NewsTue, 2017-08-15 04:00ID: 1502744232741223600BEIRUT: Lebanese army units took up positions in the northeast of the country on Monday in preparation for a battle with Daesh militants occupying a 260 square km-area straddling the border with Syria.The troops were deployed in Wadi Hmeid, Al-Malahi city and elevated positions surrounding the Lebanese border area of Arsal.The troop movements are “a continuation of the tightening of the cordon and the siege on Daesh militants on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek and Al-Qaa,” an army spokesman said.The deployment is “a prelude to the expected battle with Daesh,” a Lebanese military source told Arab News. “Zero hour for the start of the battle will be announced by the army commander, Gen. Joseph Aoun. There are signs that suggest the battle is imminent.”Lebanese artillery is already carrying out a daily bombardment of Daesh positions. “We have coordinates and we monitor movements,” the source said. The new military deployment came less than two hours after 165 armed fighters from Saraya Ahl Al-Sham, a militant group formerly linked with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), left with their families in a 34-bus convoy traveling from Arsal to the Syrian town of Al-Ruhaiba in eastern Qalamoun, which the opposition group holds in a truce with Syrian regime forces.Lebanese security authorities and staff from the Lebanese Red Cross escorted the convoy as far as the border. Six of the militants wounded in previous fighting were taken by ambulance to the border, where they were met by the Syrian Red Cross.The evacuation had been delayed for two days in a dispute over transport. The Syrian regime insisted that the militants could not travel in their own vehicles, and should instead use buses supplied by Syria.The 165 militants who left Arsal were among 1,000 fighters and their families in the town. The others handed over their weapons to the Lebanese army and remained in Arsal with their families.They will be accommodated in tents left vacant after the transfer of civilians to Idlib in the exchange deal last week between Hezbollah and the Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham militant group. “Those who preferred to stay in the camps of Arsal considered that going out to Al-Ruhaiba, without their luggage and their cars, was a loss for them. So they preferred to stay safely in Arsal,” a camp official said.
Main category: Middle-East

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