Army Command: No Coordination with Hizbullah or Syrian Army in Offensiveإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The Lebanese Army stressed on Saturday that there has been “no coordination with Hizbullah or the Syrian military” in its offensive against the Islamic State group, as it assured that the troops are confident that they “will win the battle.”
Military Spokesperson, Director of Orientation Brigadier General Ali Qanso said in a press conference shortly after the “Dawn of Outskirts” offensive launch: “There has been no direct or indirect coordination with Hizbullah or the Syrian military in the army's offensive.”
“The security situation is under control. We have waged the battle and are confident that we will win,” added Qanso.
“The army is confronting the IS terrorists to chase them out and recover territory," Qanso said.
Qanso pointed out that the army has been “attacking and destroying IS posts since dawn at 5 A.M.”
As for the number of militants and their distribution in said areas, Qanso said the “army believed there were around 600 IS fighters in the two areas, controlling some 120 square kilometers (46 square miles) of territory.”
Assuring that part of the army's mission is to uncover the fate of Lebanese servicemen captured by the IS, he said: “Uncovering the fate of captive servicemen held by IS is our priority. This military offensive has no time limit.”
Nine Lebanese soldiers captured during the 2014 raid are believed to remain in the hands of the jihadists.
Four were executed by their captors while a fifth died of his wounds. Sixteen were released in a prisoner swap in December 2015.
The Army announced Saturday the start of a long-awaited military campaign to clear Islamic State militants from a remote corner near the frontier with Syria, an offensive that seeks to end a years-old threat to neighboring towns and villages.
The army has accumulated steady successes against the militants in the past year, slowly clawing back territory, including strategic hills retaken in the past week.
The presence of extremists in the border area has brought suffering to neighboring towns and villages, from shelling to kidnappings of villagers for ransom. Car bombs made in the area and sent to other parts of the country, including the Lebanese capital, Beirut, have killed scores of people.