Lebanese Army Announces Ceasefire in ISIS Border Battle

Posted August 28, 2017

The Lebanese army and its Syrian and Hezbollah allies separately declared a cease-fire with the Islamic State after a weeklong joint campaign against the militant group along the border with Syria in northern Lebanon, the Hezbollah-controlled TV channel Al Manar said Sunday. The terrorist organisation now controls just 40 square kilometres of land on the Syrian side and 20 on the Lebanese side, announced Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in a televised media briefing on Thursday.

Red Cross workers and government forces receive buses carrying Syrian rebel fighters and their families following their arrival in Flita on August 14, 2017.

News of a pause in fighting on the Lebanese side of the border came as Hizbollah announced a ceasefire with ISIL on the Syrian side, in the western Qalamoun region.

It said the unilateral pause was "in the framework of a comprehensive agreement to end the battle in west Qalamun against Daesh (ISIS)".

Both offensives have advanced towards the border from opposite sides.

More news: Yankees, Tigers Involved in Brawl; Miguel Cabrera, Austin Romine Ejected

Talks have begun with mediation by the head of Lebanon's internal security agency, a security source said.

During that visit, Mr Nasrallah said in his speech last week, Damascus stressed that if the Lebanese government wanted to coordinate with it on reaching a deal with ISIL then it "must submit a formal and open request to the Syrian authorities" - something that would force Beirut to recognise Mr Al Assad's legitimacy.

Some of them held by the Syria's al-Qaeda off-shoot - known at the time as al-Nusra Front - were released but IS-held soldiers remain unaccounted for.

Ibrahim also added that locating the bodies was part of a deal reached with the Islamic State group during a military offensive in the area that began last week.

Nine Lebanese soldiers were taken as captives by ISIS and the al-Nusra Front from Northeastern #Lebanon in 2014.

More news: President congratulates FormoSat-5 team for successful launch

Hezbollah sources in Lebanon said the Islamic State had "succumbed under fire and asked for negotiations".

Hezbollah has played a major role in fighting Sunni militants along the border during Syria's six-year war and has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

On Aug. 2, 2014, Daesh announced it took 11 Lebanese soldiers as hostages on the outskirts of Arsal on the Syrian-Lebanese border; later the terror group executed two of them.

Coordinating with Hezbollah would be politically sensitive as Lebanon is a United States ally, and the USA has designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

More news: Lamborghini launches Alpha-One smartphone with Android Nougat