Hezbollah fighters captured more territory in Syria

Hezbollah fighters captured more territory in Syria’s Qalamoun mountains Monday, three weeks into an offensive to oust jihadis from the rugged border region, Al-Manar said.

The report said Hezbollah fighters captured several highlands northeast of the outskirts of Nahleh along Lebanon’s eastern mountain range shortly before midday.

The Hezbollah-run Al-Manar said the advancing fighters destroyed a military vehicle belonging to Nusra Front jihadis, “killing and wounding several militants.”

Hezbollah fought a fierce battle with Syria-based militants on the outskirts of Nahleh in October, sparked by a jihadi ambush on party posts. Hezbollah acknowledged the deaths of eight fighters at the time.

The Syrian army and Hezbollah launched the battle for Qalamoun earlier this month, capturing dozens of militant bases and driving the jihadis north toward the outskirts of Lebanon’s Arsal.

Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah vowed in a speech Sunday night that the Qalamoun offensive would push on until Lebanon’s border is secure.

Three Hezbollah fighters were killed fighting in Qalamoun last week, bringing the party’s death toll since the launch of the Qalamoun offensive to at least 16, according to a security source.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out between Nusra and ISIS fighters on the outskirts of Arsal, on Lebanon’s northeast border, a rebel source said.

The source said the fighting was sparked after ISIS kidnapped Syrian national Ahmad Saifeddine, a Nusra militant.

Tensions between the jihadi rivals have soared in recent weeks, with the Nusra Front-led Army of Conquest declaring two earlier this month that it would “eradicate ISIS” from Qalamoun for harassing and attacking other Syrian rebel groups.

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