Syrian army and Hezbollah drive rebels out of areas around Qalamoun

Published May 9th, 2015 - 12:09 GMT

The Syrian army and Hezbollah have ousted Islamist militants from areas surrounding a border town that was the site of fierce fighting earlier this week, Al-Manar television reported Saturday.

Rival forces had been trading fire on the outskirts of Al-Juba, about 8 kilometers northeast of the Lebanese border town of Tfail, since Friday, one day after Hezbollah and the Syrian army captured the village.

Also on Saturday, the Army of Conquest’s Qalamoun branch, a coalition of Syrian opposition forces in the area, wrote on Twitter that it was fighting “a fierce war” with Hezbollah in the Qalamoun border region.

Saturday’s gains come one day after Hezbollah and the Syrian army seized three strategic hilltops on the outskirts of Al-Juba. Five other hilltops were seized Thursday, along with Al-Juba and the neighboring town of Assal al-Ward.

The militants had fled to the outskirts of Al-Juba after withdrawing from Assal al-Ward, which is located about two kilometers northeast of Tfail.

Fierce fighting erupted Monday after Nusra-led fighters launched surprise attacks on Hezbollah and Syrian army posts along the border region with Lebanon.

On Tuesday, Hezbollah ambushed a Nusra convoy in Qalamoun, killing around 15 militants, according to a Lebanese security source.

Fighting continued throughout the rest of the week, with Hezbollah and the Syrian army making the notable gains.

Hezbollah Friday said three of its fighters have been killed in this week's Qalamoun clashes.


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