Artillery targets Daesh positions near the Lebanese-Syrian border, Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Army, HO)
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A successful battle against Daesh (ISIS) would present a strong case for the argument that the Lebanese Army is capable of being the sole defender of Lebanon. Days after Hezbollah successfully took the fight to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham militants on the outskirts of Arsal, the Army is prepping for a battle to uproot Daesh from its entrenched positions in the outskirts of Ras Baalbeck and Al-Qaa. On the Lebanese side, the Army is slowly closing in while Hezbollah and the Syrian army will most likely attack from the Syrian side.The battle has been looming for over one week now as the Army is arguably less agile than Hezbollah since it requires political backing that was officially received Tuesday at a Higher Defense Council meeting.While Hezbollah was able to bombard Fatah al-Sham militants from the ground and air in collaboration with Syria's army, the Lebanese Army will attack Daesh inside Lebanon.But Nasrallah said last week his party would follow the Army's lead in the offensive once the Army initiated the battle – meaning there would be support from the Syrian side of the border. Jaber cited 350 Saraya Ahl al-Sham fighters present on Lebanese soil as one of the reasons the all-out battle has not started.The Army, Jaber said, is still learning which weapons Daesh possesses.
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