Middle East

Two Hezbollah fighters, 20 troops killed in Qalamoun

This undated photo shows a Hezbollah fighter gesturing during clashes with Nusra Front militants in the hills surrounding the border province of Qalamoun. (The Daily Star/Stringer)

BEIRUT: Two Hezbollah fighters and 20 Syrian regime troops were killed during clashes with the Nusra Front in the Qalamoun region, a Lebanese security source said Saturday.

Scores of rebel fighters were also killed as a result of ambushes set up by the Syrian army, the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Star.

The Syrian Observatory said seven Hezbollah members and Syrian troops were killed after Nusra attacked a joint checkpoint in Jibbeh village in Qalamoun.

It said that fierce clashes raged since Friday evening between Nusra Front and other radical groups and Hezbollah-backed troops on the outskirts of Qalamoun, killing two opposition fighters

The monitor said dozens of rebels were killed in separate ambushed by Hezbollah and the Syrian regime in Jibbeh and Qalamoun.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah's Al-Manar television said 200 jihadists from Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) were killed in the ongoing battles as well as ambushes set up by the Syrian army in Qalamoun.

Hezbollah fighters and Syrian regime troops have been battling armed groups near the border with Lebanon in a bid to uproot the opposition from the Qalamoun region.

Qalamoun lies opposite to the mountainous region bordering the pro-Syrian opposition town of Arsal, and in the mountains surrounding Shiite villages such as Labweh, Nahlet Younin and Al-Ain in Lebanon’s northeast.

Most of the fighters belong to the Al-Qaeda affiliate, Nusra Front, which has been blamed for some car bombings in Lebanon in recent months.





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