Weary but triumphant Army soldiers celebrate their success in expelling Daesh militants from Ras Baalbeck’s outskirts. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Clouds of dust flew up around the wheels of Lebanese Army vehicles as they navigated the rocky, desolate mountain terrain of the Ras Baalbeck outskirts. Despite completing the mission of the "Fajr al-Joroud" (Dawn of the Outskirts) offensive to oust the Daesh (ISIS) militants that were holed up in the Lebanese-Syrian border area's caves and valleys, the Army was still actively patrolling the 120 kilometers of the territory occupied by the militants over the past three years. The hilltop was one of the first taken from Daesh militants when the Army began its advance Aug. 19 .The routes taken by the convoy were those opened and cleared by the Army that had required bulldozing and mine sweeping.It's this hilltop that the Army worked on seizing with the start of the Fajr al-Joroud offensive, a field military officer said.The Army managed to gain control of this hilltop by surrounding Daesh from different sides.Looking over the hilltops and plateaus beneath the Ras al-Kaf position, another military field officer explained that the Army had managed to weaken Daesh in this location is had the element of surprise and caught the militants off-guard. He said that the Army employed a turning movement maneuver and hit Daesh at its core.
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