Lebanese soldier killed in battles with IS near border

Lebanese soldier killed in battles with IS near border
A Lebanese army serviceman died after fierce fighting erupted with jihadi extremists in the northeastern border region near Syria, where the militants are known to operate.
2 min read
10 March, 2016
The Lebanese army has successfully protected the border but has lost many soldiers [Anadolu]
A Lebanese soldier was killed and several others were injured in fighting with jihadis affiliated to the Islamic State group in the eastern Bekaa valley near the Syrian border, according to the National News Agency.

The soldier was named as Mohammad al-Sersebi, and the casualty toll is likely to rise, a security source told The New Arab.

Eight others were injured, according to local press.

Army units had on Wednesday night intercepted a group of IS militants near the town of al-Qaa in the border region with Syria.

Thursday's clashes erupted at dawn when IS attacked army posts in the area, according to The Daily Star, quoting an unnamed military source.

The army, accompanied by helicopters, later managed to take control of a hilltop in the area, the source said.

The Lebanese army has been shelling militant positions in the border area on an almost daily basis.

Thousands of militants are known to operate in the northeastern border region, most of whom affiliated with IS or the Nusra Front.
After the eruption of the rebellion against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in neighbouring Syria, the Lebanese army established a string of bases and guard towers along the border.

Thousands of militants are known to operate in the northeastern mountain chain, most of whom are either affiliated with IS or Syrian al-Qaeda the Nusra Front.

A successful operation by Lebanese Hizballah fighters and the Syrian army in the Qalamoun region on the Syrian side of the border pushed Syrian militants in the direction of the Lebanese border, where they have since established themselves.

The Lebanese army has lost scores of soldiers in battles with the Syrian militant groups.

In August 2014, IS and the Nusra Front briefly over-ran the Lebanese border town of Arsal, capturing dozens of Lebanese servicemen, some of whom were released late last year in a deal with the Lebanese government.

The rugged terrain in which these groups operate, and the threat posed to civilians has made it difficult for the poorly equipped Lebanese army, now deprived of Saudi funding, to move against these groups.