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Hezbollah forces, Syria army make new gains in Qalamoun

Fighters of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and the Syrian army have liberated new areas in the mountainous border region of Qalamoun, west of Syria.

Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV reported Saturday that the joint forces launched a fresh attack on the positions of the al-Nusra Front terrorists operating on the outskirts of the Syrian village of Jarajeer in northern Qalamoun, clearing those positions of militants.

The Arabic-language channel stopped its routine programs and aired footage showing the advance of the allied forces in the strategic area, which is located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of the Lebanese town of Arsal, also a hot spot over the past few weeks.

The report said that a bulldozer and a military vehicle belonging to the al-Nusra terrorists were destroyed in the Saturday operation.

The advance came just a week after the joint forces managed to retake the Syrian border town of Flitah, which lies about seven kilometers (4.5 miles) from Jarajeer. The gains mean that those militants operating in the vicinity of Arsal have now become surrounded from all directions.

Hezbollah currently controls east and south of Arsal while the militants of the Takfiri ISIL terrorist group are positioned on the northern outskirts. The Lebanese army has a major presence in Arsal itself, launching occasional attacks on militants in the surrounding areas.

On Friday, Hezbollah forces retook the area of Qernat Shamis al-Hassan in Jarajeer. The fighters had previously taken control of the areas of Qernat Sheab al-Nosub, Qernat Abu Harb and Qernat al-Sama’an. Hezbollah forces had also liberated the Bloksat heights which oversee Jarajeer and Arsal.

Militants have reportedly lost more than 90 percent of the land they previously controlled in Qalamoun as a result of the two-month long operation by Hezbollah and the Syrian army. The mountainous region, which straddles the Lebanese-Syrian border, was previously used by the al-Nusra Front terrorists for transferring weapons and ammunition into Syria, where they have been involved in terrorist activities.

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