TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah organized a media tour Saturday of areas seized from Takfiri militants in the outskirts of Arsal, on Lebanon's northeastern border, local media reported.
According to the local Voice of Lebanon radio station, a number of journalists joined the tour of the battle-scarred region, following the end of a seven-day offensive Hezbollah launched on Friday, June 21, to drive militants from the area, The Daily Star reported.
Hezbollah sustained the offensive against positions held by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – the militant group formerly known as the Nusra Front – on the outskirts of Arsal and of the adjacent town of Flita in Syria.
Hezbollah fighters succeeded in capturing the rugged mountainous area from the militant group, with the battle culminating Thursday in a cease-fire.
Surviving militants and their families are expected to soon leave their encampments on Arsal’s outskirts bound for Idlib in Syria, as part of an exchange initiative that will see four Hezbollah members held by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham return to Lebanon.
A second offensive is expected to be launched against Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) militants holed up to the north of Arsal, in the mountains of Ras Baalbeck.
The Arsal area was hardly hit by the spillover of the Syria crisis in 2014, when militants managed to overrun the town for a brief period. Around 45,000 Syrian refugees, registered with the UN, live in the town, but more are believed to be living in camps in the Juroud area, although their numbers have not been confirmed.
Lebanon has often seen the infiltration of Takfiri elements from neighboring Syria into its territory, where they target the civilian population or security forces with bombings.
Assisting Lebanese army forces, Hezbollah fighters have so far fended off several attacks by the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and Daesh Takfiri terrorist groups. Hezbollah says its mission in Syria is aimed at preventing the spillover of the crisis into Lebanon.