Lebanese army to strike Arsal area

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 18, 2017

Lebanon is preparing a military operation to secure a lawless section of the border with Syria, Prime Minister Saad Hariri told parliament on Tuesday.

Juroud Arsal, a barren area in the mountains between Syria and Lebanon, has been a base of operations for insurgents fighting in the Syrian civil war, including rebels from the Daish group.

Hariri, an outspoken opponent of Syrian President Bashar Assad, promised the Lebanese military would not coordinate with the Syrian one.

In August 2014, fierce clashes erupted in Arsal between the Lebanese army and armed groups including Islamic State and Jabhat Al Nusra after 36 Lebanese security personnel were abducted.

Relations between the refugees and the Lebanese army are already strained following a raid on June 30 that resulted in the detention of 355 Syrians; four later died in army custody.

Speculation has been building that the Hezbollah and the Syrian military are set to mount a major operation against the insurgents on the Syrian side of the frontier. There could be as many as 80,000 refugees around Arsal today. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah fueled these reports with his statements over the last month, but Hariri denied them, stating that "there is no coordination between the Lebanese and Syrian armies".

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