Hezbollah fighters advance during clashes with militants on the outskirts of Arsal, Sunday, July 23, 2017. (The Daily Star/Hezbollah Media Office, HO)
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The timing of Hezbollah's offensive on the outskirts of Arsal was facilitated by both the developing military and political reality in Syria as well as the international agreements that allowed the Lebanese force to create zones of influence on the country's border, analyst said Sunday. Hezbollah has been active in the Qalamoun mountains since 2013 and the militants have long held the area. Yet the Lebanese party has waited until now to tackle the last threat, long after taking near complete control of the region by investing considerable assets in the battle for Qalamoun. Atrissi said he sees the current battle as a means to prevent Daesh from shifting units from Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria, as the group loses ground.Hilal Khashan, a political studies professor at AUB, said that Hezbollah's timing was meant to coincide with Prime Minister Saad Hariri's visit to Washington and his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
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