Hezbollah fighters fire a missile during clashes with militants on the outskirts of Arsal, Sunday, July 23, 2017. (The Daily Star/Hezbollah Media Office, HO)
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President Michel Aoun and senior government officials have so far kept mum on Hezbollah's military offensive against militants holed up on the rugged terrain of the northeastern town of Arsal, giving rise to speculation that their silence is a tacit approval of the party's declared goal to purge the area of Daesh (ISIS) and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, previously known as the Nusra Front.As Hezbollah fighters plowed on for the third day of their assault, capturing more territory from militants, Lebanese officials and politicians reacted to the dramatic developments by voicing support for the Army's measures to tighten security around Arsal to prevent militants from entering the town.The Lebanese Army has cordoned off Arsal and has been shelling militants reportedly attempting to advance toward the town.Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Qanso said the Hezbollah offensive was launched after negotiations with the Lebanese Army to persuade the militant groups to leave Arsal's outskirts for the Syrian city of Idlib had failed.
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