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Lebanon, Hezbollah Announce Assaults On Islamic State Border Enclave


Lebanon -- An artillery fires towards militant jihadists' position in Jurud Arsal, a mountainous region bordering with Syria, July 21, 2017
The Lebanese army on August 19 announced that it had launched an offensive against an Islamic State enclave straddling its northeast border with Syria.

At the same time, Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah group, on its al-Manar television station, announced that the Iran-backed militia has started a joint military operation with the Syrian army against an IS pocket on Syria's border with Lebanon.

It was not immediately clear whether the two campaigns were targeting the same IS enclave and were coordinated assaults.

The Lebanese army said it was targeting IS positions near the town of Ras Baalbek with rockets, artillery, and helicopters. That area is the last part of the Lebanese-Syrian frontier that remains under extremist group's control.

"In the name of Lebanon, in the name of kidnapped Lebanese soldiers, in the name of martyrs of the army, I announce that [this] operation....has started," said Lebanese army chief General Joseph Aoun.

The Hezbollah and Syrian army assault is taking place from inside Syria. The Lebanese army said it was attacking the group from inside Lebanese territory.

The Lebanese army did not say it was coordinating with the Syrian army in its military operations.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters
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