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Lebanese army begins offensive against ISIL on border

Military says it is not coordinating with Syrian army regarding operations against ISIL near Ras Baalbek.

The Lebanese army says it has launched an offensive against an ISIL enclave straddling the northeast border with Syria.

The army was targeting positions of ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, near the town of Ras Baalbek with rockets, artillery and helicopters, a Lebanese security source said.

It is the last part of the Lebanese-Syrian frontier under ISIL 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 army Chief General Joseph Aoun.


READ MORE: Arsal: Hezbollah, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham agree ceasefire


The Lebanese army says it is not coordinating with the Syrian army in its military operations.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun was following the army operation, called "Jroud Dawn". "Jroud" refers to the barren, mountainous border area between Lebanon and Syria.

Last month, the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah forced Jabhat Fateh al-Sham fighters and Syrian rebels to leave nearby border strongholds in a joint operation with the Syrian army.

The Lebanese army, a major recipient of US military aid, did not take part in the July operation, but it has been gearing up to assault the ISIL pocket in the same mountainous region. A military source said around 500 ISIL fighters were holed up in the enclave.


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