Hizballah, Nusra exchange bodies under Syria-Lebanon border plan

Hizballah, Nusra exchange bodies under Syria-Lebanon border plan
Hizballah and former al-Qaeda-linked militants will exchange the bodies of dead fighters after reaching a ceasefire deal aiming to restore order to the Syria-Lebanon border.
1 min read
30 July, 2017
Hizballah and al-Qaeda-linked fighters will exchange bodies, al-Manar reported [AFP]

Hizballah and Nusra Front militants will exchange bodies of dead fighters along the Lebanese-Syrian border in the first stage of a settlement to restore order to the contested region, Hizballah's al-Manar TV station has reported.

Hizballah said it is handing over the bodies of nine al-Nusra fighters in exchange for the bodies of five of its own militants who were killed in two weeks of battles along the mountainous Jurud Arsal area, al-Manar reported on Sunday.

The fighting ended with a ceasefire on Thursday to allow remaining fighters and families of the former al-Qaeda affiliate to retreat to Syria's northwest Idlib province.

The brief offensive killed nearly 150 of the Sunni militants and about two dozen Hizballah fighters.

The deal leaves the Lebanese and Syrian states and Hizballah in control of this contested stretch of the border, which served as a hideout for militants, who in 2014 clashed with Lebanese security forces in the area.

Hizballah, which has played a role in Syria's civil war supporting President Bashar al-Assad, is expected to launch an offensive against the smaller Islamic State enclave near Arsal.