Lebanon, Syria declare ceasefires in fight against ISIL

Casey Dawson
August 28, 2017

The Syrian army has agreed to a deal between Islamic State and Hezbollah that allows the transfer of Islamic State militants from the Syria-Lebanon border into eastern Syria, state media said on Sunday.

Hezbollah, a militant and political group, has been fighting ISIS on the Syrian side of the border in the West Qalamoun region.

The offensive began on Saturday, coinciding with a Lebanese army campaign on Lebanon's side of the border to drive Islamic State from the Ras Baalbek area in the country's northeast.

Lebanese authorities have located human remains believed to belong to soldiers kidnapped by ISIL in 2014, according to a top security official. Ibrahim said the search for a ninth soldier continues.

Both the pro-Assad military alliance and the Lebanese army have advanced towards the Syrian-Lebanese border from their respective sides.

Hezbollah sources in Lebanon said the Islamic State had "succumbed under fire and asked for negotiations".

Lebanon's defence minister said in comments to reporters that Hezbollah was carrying out the negotiations over the soldiers, who were captured in 2014 when al-Qaeda and ISIS militants briefly overran a Lebanese town near the border.

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To go where? Stop and look at the people around you and say: 'Can I help that person?' It's so important. He noted how he always did his best to " recreate the experience through photos or words".

The United States has designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization and is an ally of Lebanon. Senior officials of the Syrian troops repeatedly stated that they would not rest until they exterminate or capture the last terrorist within the Syrian-Lebanese territorial limits.

Hezbollah fighters are seen in a truck in Jroud Arsal, near Syria-Lebanon border, August 13, 2017.

Ibrahim also added that locating the bodies was part of a deal reached with the Islamic State group during a military offensive in the area that began last week.

Six soldiers have been killed since the start of the assault, which the army has insisted is not being coordinated with Hezbollah.

In a short military statement, the army said the approval comes after the defeat of IS in Qalamoun, where the terror-designated group was besieged by the army and Hezbollah fighters. They departed for insurgent territory in Syria after offensives by Hizballah and the Syrian regime.

A Western diplomat praised the Lebanese army's performance in the border battle in "a risky and complex operation" and said it would have been "simply unimaginable" a decade ago.

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