BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Hezbollah, Syria army push to oust rebels on border

The funeral of a Hezbollah fighter in Beirut’s southern suburb of Ghobeiry July 15, 2014. (AFP PHOTO)

HERMEL, Lebanon: Hezbollah fighters, under cover of Syrian aerial and ground bombardment, fought doggedly all night to cut off rebels’ supply lines along the border with Lebanon.

Security sources told The Daily Star that heavy fighting raged through the night between Hezbollah fighters and Nusra Front gunmen along the northeastern border.

They said the clashes with automatic machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and Grad rockets dwindled in the early hours of the morning Friday.

The Syrian army unleashed rocket salvos on rebel pockets as warplanes provided aerial cover for Hezbollah fighters working to cut off logistics routes from the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal, the sources added.

Earlier this year, Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah drove rebels out of the Syrian region of Qalamoun. Hezbollah is now trying to tighten its noose on Nusra Front fighters who fled to the border with Lebanon during the offensive.

There were no reports of casualties from the overnight fighting.

On Thursday, Hezbollah held funerals in south Lebanon and Beirut for three of its members killed in the recent battle. Among them was field commander Bassam Tabaja.

Earlier this week, seven Hezbollah fighters and 32 Syrian rebels died in clashes in the area.

Arsal and its surroundings is largely Sunni, and locals sympathize with the Sunni-led uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. The town hosts tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

 

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