File - A general view of Ras Baalbek village, Thursday, July 17, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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This quarry is the furthest one from Mechref's village of Ras Baalbek, a Greek Catholic town in northeastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley that is separated from Syria by a mountain range. The quarry attracted national attention earlier this year when eight workers – all Mechref's employees – were kidnapped by a group claiming to be part of ISIS. Last month Lebanese Army rockets flew over the town into Arsal's mountains to strike Islamists holed up there, and the militants would often retaliate by firing their own poorly aimed rockets at Ras Baalbek and the neighboring towns.However, due to the difficulty of infiltrating Ras Baalbek and the surrounding towns, ISIS instead seems to have turned its sights on the mainly Sunni border village of Arsal. ISIS enjoys a strong presence there, according to the security source, with Syrians comprising most of the group and Arsal residents accounting for well under 1 percent.
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