Relatives of kidnapped Lebanese Army soldiers gather at Riad al-Solh Square to protest, Friday, July 14, 2017. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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Hundreds of members of Hezbollah's elite units have been transferred within Syria to areas near the border with Lebanon in anticipation of a planned offensive against militants entrenched in the mountains around Arsal, a security source told The Daily Star Friday.The Daily Star has confirmed that Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has already issued the order for the offensive.The source added that the Syrian air force will be playing a supporting role in the battle and will be conducting air strikes against the militants in the area.Among the groups operating in the region is the Free Syrian Army faction Saraya Ahl al-Sham, which consists of around 800 militants. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – formerly known as the Nusra Front – and Daesh (ISIS) also operate in the area with around 400 and 250 militants respectively. Hezbollah's forces will be attacking from the Syrian side of the border, after withdrawing their troops from the Lebanese side of the frontier and handing their positions over to the Lebanese Army in May.Daesh and the Nusra Front briefly overran Arsal in 2014, capturing more than 30 Internal Security Forces and Army servicemen.
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