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Hezbollah and the Syrian army have launched attack

According to the reports, The Lebanese group Hezbollah and the Syrian army have launched an offensive to clear fighters from an area of the Syrian-Lebanese frontier.

The operation is targeting fighters in the Arsal area on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Arsal, and in areas of the western Qalamoun mountains in Syria.

Government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media reports that military operations began Friday from two fronts on the outskirts of the Lebanese town.

The offensive was widely expected after negotiations with militants to leave the area failed over the past days.

The region is a stronghold of Syria’s al-Qaida’s branch, known as Fatah al-Sham Front, as well as the Islamic State group and the Levant People’s Brigades.

Several thousand Syrian refugees are living in camps in Juroud Arsal region, a largely barren area situated in Qalamoun between Syria and Lebanon.

The Lebanese army said its helping Syrian refugees flee the area to safer grounds.

The Lebanese army has deployed reinforcements on the outskirts of Arsal in anticipation of the operation, aiming to prevent fighters from fleeing into Lebanon.

Earlier this week, Amnesty International urged the Lebanese army to “prioritise the protection of Lebanese residents as well as Syrian refugees in the area” when it launches its operation.

In 2014, the area was the scene of one of the most serious spillovers of the Syrian war into Lebanon, when fighters briefly overran the town of Arsal.

The Iran-backed Shia group Hezbollah has provided Syrian President Assad with crucial military support in the war, a role that has drawn heavy criticism from its Lebanese opponents, including Hariri.

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