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Lebanese FM: Army Alone Will Wage Battle against ISIS | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanese Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil. (NNA)

Beirut – Lebanese Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil avoided on Monday the contentious issue of whether the Lebanese army will coordinate with Syrian regime forces in retaking Lebanese territory captured by ISIS terrorists in the northeastern border region of Arsal.

He said that the Lebanese army “alone” will wage the battle against ISIS on the Lebanese side of the border with Syria.

Military sources over the weekend denied claims that the military will coordinate with the regime during the upcoming battle that the army has been preparing for. “Hezbollah” chief Hassan Nasrallah had last week said that the battle against ISIS demands that Lebanon coordinate with the Syria regime.

Defense Minister Yaacoub al-Sarraf denied on Sunday that the Lebanese army will coordinate with Syria due to the political differences over this issue.

“The battle will not end until all Lebanese land is liberated,” declared Bassil while visiting the town of Ras Baalbek at the head of a Free Patriotic Movement delegation.

The delegation then headed to al-Qaa, where he stated: “We do not need anyone’s permission to liberate our outskirts from terrorism. We are approaching a phase that will witness the fall of martyrs. It will also witness joy, dignity, sovereignty and independence against takfiri occupation that had tried to infiltrate our land, villages and towns.”

“Lebanon today is victorious against this terrorism,” stressed the foreign minister.

The army had in recent days intensified its preparations to start the battle against the terrorist group. “Hezbollah” had in late July waged a battle against al-Nusra Front extremists to expel them from Arsal. A prisoner swap deal was reached between the two sides.

A Lebanese security source said that ISIS had launched on Monday seven “Grad” type rockets from the Syrian border towards Lebanon. No one was injured in the incident.

The rockets landed inside the Lebanese town of al-Qaa, prompting the Lebanese army to shell ISIS positions on the nearby hills.

The military’s preparations for the battle against ISIS saw it deploy more troops in Ras Baalbek, al-Qaa and northeast of Arsal town.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun had called on the Higher Defense Council to convene later on Tuesday in order to follow up on the security developments in the country.