Hezbollah captures much of ISIS enclave near border

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says the group has captured much of ISIS pocket on Syria's side of the border with Lebanon.

Ben Ariel ,

Hassan Nasrallah
Hassan Nasrallah
Reuters

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Thursday the group has captured much of an Islamic State (ISIS) pocket on Syria's side of the border with Lebanon in a joint offensive with the Syrian army.

In parallel with the fighting, talks on a truce have begun with Islamic State but a military victory is more likely, he said in a televised speech, as quoted by Reuters.

Syrian troops and Hezbollah have been fighting to oust Islamic State from Syria's western Qalamoun region.

The attack began last week, noted Reuters, coinciding with a Lebanese army offensive against ISIS on its side of the border in northeast Lebanon.

The frontier battle was nearing a "very big victory", Nasrallah said on Thursday.

"So far, more than 270 square km have been fully captured on Syrian land" by Hezbollah and the Syrian army, he said.

"Around 40 square km remain under Daesh control," added Nasrallah, using the Arabic name for the jihadist group.

Earlier this week, Hezbollah announced it had used unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) during an operation against ISIS and published a video showing the drone strikes. This is not the first time Hezbollah drones have been seen in Syria.

Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group, is fighting against ISIS, a Sunni organization, in both Lebanon and neighboring Syria, where it has sustained heavy losses.

As a result of the group's involvement in the Syrian war, Lebanon has suffered from spillover. One of the worst spillovers of Syria's war into Lebanon was in 2014, when ISIS and Nusra Front briefly overran the border town of Arsal.

In addition, Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon have been targeted in the spillover.




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