39 dead in border clashes between Hezbollah and Syrian rebels
Seven Hezbollah fighters and 32 Syrian rebels died in fierce clashes on the Syria-Lebanon border, Lebanese security sources said Monday.
The sources said there were around 50 wounded in the fighting, which began Saturday and continued into Sunday night around the Syrian village of Nahleh, just over the border from Lebanon’s Arsal.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 31 Hezbollah fighters were wounded, while the resistance party captured 14 fighters from the Nusra Front and Islamic Battalion.
“It appears Hezbollah launched the attack in a bid to finish off the pockets of rebel resistance,” Observatory head Rami Abdel-Rahman said.
Arsal and the area around it are largely Sunni, and locals sympathize with the Sunni-led uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In April, Syrian forces backed by allied fighters from Hezbollah retook control of most of the Qalamoun region.
But Syrian activists say hundreds of opposition fighters have taken refuge in the caves and hills in the border area, using it as a rear base from which to launch attacks inside Syria.
Last month, Lebanese Army forces carried out raids in the area targeting militants with ties to “terrorist groups,” an army statement said at the time.