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Calm in Arsal Amidst New Mediation - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut- The battle of Arsal was calm on Monday afternoon paving the way for a new round of negotiations over the withdrawal of militants and leaders of al-Nusra Front from the area to an unknown destination, probably Syria’s Idlib.

The latest developments came after “Hezbollah” announced that the battle with Nusra was nearing an end, calling on “all militants … to spare their blood and throw down their weapons”.

High-ranking sources located in east Lebanon and close to the negotiations said that Sheikh Mustafa al-Hujairi “traveled on 9 am Sunday to Jurud Arsal to meet with representatives and militants from Nusra Front in a new attempt to start a mediation with the Lebanese government and “Hezbollah” for the withdrawal of the militant group from the area.”

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Sheikh Hujairi’s new mission aims to ask militants about their demands and then transfer those requests to the Lebanese government and “Hezbollah.”

“There is a possibility that militants move to Idlib, with no pre-conditions,” the sources said, also speaking about reports of an international patronage to secure their transfer to the north of Syria.

On Monday, Nusra militants were trapped in the last geographic spot after “Hezbollah” fighters gained control over 80 percent of the area where Nusra had deployed in Jurud Arsal.

Later, the terrorists fled towards the demarcation line with ISIS in the eastern outskirts of Arsal, while others have withdrawn towards Wadi Hmayed and al-Malahi region where Syrian refugee camps are located, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) said.

The Lebanese army reinforced on Monday its security measures in the locations facing Wadi Hmayed after spotting Nusra militants fleeing from Al Ajram towards al-Malahi region.

NNA said that “Hezbollah” also shelled the field hospital belonging to al-Nusra militants inside Wadi Hmayed in Arsal outskirts, scoring direct hits.

Meanwhile, a security source told Reuters that the “biggest part of the operation has finished, practically speaking, with the seizing of Wadi al-Kheil. Now it’s a question of flushing out and searches – then preparation for the fight against ISIS.”

In a related matter, Lebanese government commissioner to the Military Court, Judge Sakr Sakr received on Monday the report of the medical committee that examined the bodies of the four Syrians arrested in Arsal area.

The forensic doctors’ report found that the four Syrians did not die as a result of violence, but due to different health issues suffered by each of them.