BEIRUT: Four Hezbollah fighters and five Syrian Army soldiers were killed in fierce clashes with jihadis in the border region of Qalamoun Saturday, security sources told The Daily Star.
The sources said militants attacked Hezbollah positions in the Qalamoun village of Flita near the border with Lebanon sparking fierce clashes between them and Hezbollah and the Syrian military.
Though the party and the Syrian military succeeded in repelling the attack, four Hezbollah fighters and five Syrian soldiers were killed in the clashes, the sources said. According to the sources jihadis also sustained losses but the number of casualties was still unclear.
Earlier in the day, Hezbollah's Al-Manar television denied that the Nusra Front overran the party's posts in Flita, saying clashes were ongoing in the area.
The Al-Qaeda-affiliate said on one of its Twitter accounts that its fighters stormed locations of Hezbollah and the Syrian army on the outskirts of Flita, forcing their rivals to flee.
Hours later, Al-Manar said fierce clashes were ongoing in Flita, denying that militants had overtaken Syrian army positions.
Media reports said two Hezbollah members were killed in the Flita battles. They were identified as Ali Bakri and Fadel Abbas.
Backed by Hezbollah, the Syrian army took Flita, located only five kilometers from the border with Lebanon, after fierce clashes with rebels last year.
Hezbollah and Syrian soldiers were able to take over Flita after the fall of Yabroud, a strategically located city seen as a conduit for rebel supplies from Lebanon.
Nusra has said it had launched attacks on Hezbollah positions near the border with Lebanon, posting videos of abandoned posts by the Lebanese group.