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Lebanese Army Rejects Negotiation with ISIS before Revealing Captives’ Fate | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanese army soldiers are seen on their military vehicles in the town of Ras Baalbek, Lebanon August 21, 2017. REUTERS/ Ali Hashisho

Beirut- Lebanese Army continued its logistic and combat preparations for the fourth phase of Jroud Dawn operation in outskirts of al-Qaa and Ras Baalbek. The army has reiterated its rejection to any settlement or negotiation before getting information on the destiny of the soldiers captivated by ISIS since three years.

Military sources informed Asharq Al-Awsat that until this moment there isn’t any proposal on the exit of ISIS from the mountains and the priority remains to the destiny of military captives.

They described this period as the toughest. Military expert retired general Khalil al-Helou told Asharq Al-Awsat that the difficulty of this stage lies in the technical side and not the military one.

“Wadi Martabya – where ISIS existence has been curbed – is a deep valley that the group managed to seize its surrounding heights. So the difficulty is basically to reach this region whose roads need to be opened to facilitate vesicles’ passage,” he added.

“Terrorists have left behind mines planted in various sites and it is burdensome to remove them quickly. We are dealing with a terrorist organization that doesn’t recognize any rules or ethics of war,” a military source reported to Central News Agency.

Helou saw that what has been accomplished by the army in a couple of days is an unprecedented achievement in the history of countries’ battle against ISIS whether in regards to the accuracy in operations or the limited losses.

During the past 48 hours, no action was taken by ISIS members in Wadi Martabya – they have probably fled to Syria, according to Helou.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri informed the cabinet of the outcome of his tour at Lebanese Army positions on the Eastern border, lauding the high spirits of the army and its achievements. He also stressed that the Lebanese Army will position in all areas liberated from terrorists and there will be monitoring centers and fortifications.