Beirut – The Lebanese authorities are beginning to tighten the noose around extremist groups and those associated with them.
The Lebanese army, in cooperation with security agencies, has been pursuing suspected ISIS members active on the internal scene, cracking down on lone wolves and dismantling terror cells.
The military has also started to surround the extremists along the border with Syria and they have started to “suffer” after their supply lines were severed.
The army intensified its shelling against armed extremists along the border, most notably on the outskirts of Arsal and Ras Baalbek, amid reports that ISIS was seeking to “change its position in the area.”
It appeared as if the organization was seeking to break through the siege that has been imposed on it by the army.
A prominent security source told Asharq Al-Awsat: “That it has become impossible for these ISIS members to contact their command in Raqqa.”
“They have lost their mobility and are now surrounded and subject to constant shelling,” it added.
All of their supply lines have been cut, which has prompted them to take “semi-suicidal” actions in the area, it revealed.
ISIS had carried out last week attacks against the al-Nusra Front on the outskirts of Arsal. Over 50 militants from both groups were killed as ISIS attempted to seize a refugee camp in Arsal.
Around 10,000 civilians live in the camp.
The security source explained that this camp is not located in the residential neighborhoods of the town of Arsal. Its inhabitant receive food, aid and supplies, which is why ISIS is attempting to take seize it.
ISIS is now surrounded by Lebanon and Syria and it no longer has any food or supply route.
It is seeking to use the civilians in the camp as human shields in order to prolong its presence in the area, warned the source.
Estimates in 2016 said that there are no more than 1,000 ISIS members present along the Lebanese-Syrian border. Their numbers have been dwindling due to the Lebanese army’s constant shelling and due to fighting with al-Nusra Front.
This has not prevented ISIS from carrying out attacks however.
On the internal scene, the efforts of the security agencies have resulted in the arrest of numerous suspects linked to ISIS.
The detainees do not form terror cells, because the majority of them have been dismantled, said the security source.
The terrorist groups have therefore resorted to the lone wolf tactic after the cells have been broken up.
The source assured however that the security scene inside the country is stable.