Beirut – The Lebanese army announced on Tuesday that its forces have captured most of the 120 square kms held by ISIS on the eastern borders of the country, only four days after launching their battle against the terrorist militants.
“We have captured around another 20 square km, so we have about another 20 to go,” General Ali Qanso said Tuesday during a press conference held at the Defense Ministry.
On Tuesday, the army announced it was launching the third stage of their “Fajr al-Jurud” operation against ISIS, after focusing their efforts Monday on removing mines and booby traps from the roads, so that armored vehicles may advance.
One soldier was killed on Tuesday and four others were injured while dismantling explosives left behind by the extremists.
Qanso said that four Lebanese soldiers were killed since the army launched its operation against ISIS on Saturday.
He stated that all the terrorists’ posts have been demolished and other militants have fled the area.
“Nine posts have been destroyed, and weapons, munitions and explosives have been seized,” he added.
“Our units are getting ready to carry on the operation, while taking into consideration international humanitarian law,” Qanso stressed.
Meanwhile, the Syrian army and “Hezbollah” continued advancing from the Syrian side of Qalamoun, announcing the capture of two strategic hills and seizing a quantity of weapons.
Retired Army General Mohammed Rammal told Asahrq Al-Awsat that the third phase of the military operation against ISIS was decisive.
“When the range of the battle lessens, the effect of the heavy weapons becomes limited, and therefore it would be essential to rely on artillery shelling to paralyze the militants’ power of resistance,” he explained.
For his part, Riyad Qahwaji, CEO of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA), told Asharq Al-Awsat that ISIS militants would continue fighting till death after it became difficult for them to retreat.
He predicted that the operation against ISIS launched from the Lebanese side would be complete before the end of this week.