Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Lebanon’s Eastern Borders Free of ISIS… Army Deployed in the Area | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Lebanon Hezbollah fighter carries his weapon as he stands in Khashaat, in the Qalamoun region. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Beirut – The Lebanese Army began deploying in the last liberated areas on the eastern Lebanese border with Syria, while Hezbollah completed its control of the Syrian western borders as a result of an agreement with ISIS.

The agreement stipulated that ISIS militants withdraw from Qalamoun towards Deir al-Zour, so the borders are completely liberated and the control is divided between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army on the Lebanese side and Hezbollah and the Syrian regime forces on the Syrian side.

Meanwhile, Lebanese Army units have completed their deployment in the area of Wadi Martbaya and its surroundings, which were cleared out of ISIS militants, the Army Command Directorate General said in a statement.

The army raised the Lebanese flag over the hilltops Halima Qara, Oqabat Martbaya and Halima al-Qabou, which are considered the highest in the area.

Army engineering regiment’s specialized teams have conducted a survey on these lands to detect bombs, mines and suspicious objects left behind by the terrorists.

Military sources told Asharq al-Awsat that the army would be deployed alone in strategic positions along the border.

“The army’s main target was to reach the border, and since the target was achieved, the army would be stationed at fixed points. This does not require any coordination with the Syrian side. Border protection does not require coordination with any party and the army will do its job alone,” the sources said.

On the Syrian side, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, noted that Hezbollah and the regime forces were deployed along the border strip in Qalamoun and Al-Zabadani Plain, reaching the southern Homs countryside in the Qusayr area.

Military Expert and retired Brigadier Khalil Helou told Asharq al-Aswat that before the beginning of the battle, the Lebanese Army was present along the eastern borders, which extend from Wadi Khaled to Qaa, and from Qaa to Brital.

“It is the first time the army has established outposts since the Independence in 1943 as a result of a military operation, specifically along a distance estimated at 160 km, which includes eastern Labweh, Fakiha, Ras Baalbek and Al-Qaa, the highest point of which is known as the hills of Halima,” Helou said.

He explained that the absence of the army was the result of “the lack of interest in this arid region; which allowed the gunmen to control it”, adding: “Today, the Army’s presence is inevitable”.