Beirut- “Hezbollah” continued on Saturday to advance in the battle of Jurud Arsal located at the Lebanese eastern borders with Syria, decreasing the area of control of al-Nusra Front, which the Lebanese Army said killed former vice-president of Arsal Municipality, Ahmad Flayti during negotiations with militants over possible withdrawal from Wadi Hmayed.
Security sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Lebanese Army on Saturday foiled three attempts by al-Nusra Front to infiltrate into their military positions, particularly those located in the Safa Lizab and Wadi al-Damm in Jurud Arsal.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Lebanese Army said: “The terrorist Al-Nusra Front targeted Ahmad Flayti accompanied by Fayez Flayti who were driving in the Wadi Hmayed to meet with terrorists groups and negotiate over their withdrawal from the area.”
The army said that the attack killed Ahmad and injured Fayez.
Vice-president of Arsal municipality Rima Karnabi told Asharq Al-Awsat: “It is now difficult to solve the developments in Arsal through negotiations.”
Head of Arsal municipality Bassel al-Hojeiri agreed with Karnabi. “Talks about a possible negotiation suffered a severe setback.”
On Saturday, the National News Agency (NNA) said the Lebanese army shelled terrorist groups in Safa Lizab and destroyed their anti-mechanism artillery, while “Hezbollah” was still advancing in the Jurud Arsal area.
Reuters quoted a security source putting Hezbollah’s death toll at 15 early on Saturday, and said at least 43 militants had been killed.
Hezollah’s Al Manar TV said large groups from al-Nusra Front had raised six white flags in surrender near the Wadi Khalil area in Jurud Arsal, while the Lebanese Army and “Hezbollah” raised the Lebanese flag in the strategic hilltop of Dhahr al-Huwa, which is considered a key Nusra Front base in the area.
From the Syrian side, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian warplanes launched more raids against al-Nusra Front positions near the Lebanese-Syrian borders.
Meanwhile, NNA said Interior Minister Nuhad Mashnouq conducted over the past 24 hours intensive contacts and work meetings that focused on measures to redress the humanitarian repercussions of the armed clashes in Arsal’s outskirts.
“We need to work to alleviate the humanitarian burden that the host community in Arsal has suffered since the beginning of the war in Syria and its sacrifices in sheltering the displaced and bearing the consequences of militants’ presence in the area,” Mashnouq said.