File - A tank of the pro-regime forces is seen during alleged operations to take the control of the surrounding areas of the Rankous plain in the Qalamoun region, April 13, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/HO/SANA)
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Hezbollah and the Syrian regime tightened the noose on armed rebels fighting in the mountainous regions straddling the border between Lebanon and Syria, in a major push to uproot fighters opposed to the embattled Assad regime.HezbollahBattles raged in Qalamoun, which lies opposite to the mountainous region bordering the pro-Syrian opposition town of Arsal, and in the mountains surrounding Shiite villages like Labweh, Nahlet Younin and Al-Ain in Lebanon's northeast, between Hezbollah and the Syrian regime armed with warplanes on one side and opposition rebels on the other.The town is sympathetic to the Syrian opposition, and has been accused of harboring rebel fighters.Elsewhere in northern Lebanon, the family of three Lebanese smugglers distanced itself from the kidnapping and ransoming of Syrian refugees carried out by the men, and called on the Lebanese authorities to arrest and punish them.The Ghazi family, from the village of Rama in Wadi Khaled, issued a statement Wednesday rejecting the criminal acts of three members of the family – who have been kidnapping Syrian refugees and ransoming them to the Syrian army as a means to compensate "poor business" across the border with Syria, whose three-year conflict has dented their smuggling activities. Security sources said four Syrian refugees were kidnapped over the weekend by a three-man gang and turned over to the Syrian army across the border.
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