Fierce fighting between Hezbollah and the Nusra Front along Lebanon's eastern border subsided early Monday, according to security sources, leaving five fighters from the resistance party and more than a dozen of the jihadists dead.
Security sources said that the Hezbollah fatalities were from the Tarraf, Murtada, Saleh, Rabah and Zeaiter families, while at least 20 of the party's fighters were wounded in the clashes that broke out after sundown Sunday outside the village of Brital.
The wounded were taken to hospitals in Baalbek, particularly the Hezbollah-run Dar al-Hikmeh, the sources told The Daily Star.
They said Hezbollah fighters repelled Nusra Front attacks on the party’s two main posts – Ain al-Saaa and Mihfara – on the farthest edge of Brital.
In addition to killing 14 Nusra Front fighters, Hezbollah captured five militants, the sources said.
A source from Hezbollah told The Daily Star that militants had briefly taken over one of the posts but the party swiftly regained control of the site.
"All the fighting is taking place inside Syrian territories as militants are seeking to gain a foothold in Qalamoun, where their presence is weak," the source said. "They have been launching intermittent attacks."
The rebels have been caught in the no-man’s land between the two countries since the Syrian regime and Hezbollah regained the majority of Syria’s Qalamoun region earlier this year.
The porous border region had served as a major supply line for the Syrian rebels over the more than three and a half year old civil war, but the rebels came into increasingly conflict with the Lebanese Army after being pushed out of Qalamoun.
Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian civil war alongside President Bashar Assad’s forces has been cited by the rebels as their justification for their attacks on Lebanon, which have grown over the last year, culminating in the fierce August battles in Arsal that ended with 19 soldiers dead and more than 30 troops and policemen held hostage by the Nusra Front and ISIS.
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