The Lebanese military is reportedly making preparations to launch a long-awaited operation against hundreds of Daesh terrorists operating along the Syrian border with the help of the country’s Hezbollah resistance movement.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the offensive will also involve Hezbollah resistance fighters and the Syrian military.
More than 3,000 Lebanese troops, including elite special forces, are expected to take part in the upcoming campaign to rid the border regions of Takfiri elements.
Meanwhile, a source at Lebanon’s presidential palace told The Daily Star that the counterterrorism mission will be discussed at a meeting of the Higher Council of Defense headed by President Michel Aoun later on Tuesday.
The meeting will focus on military plans on the outskirts of the town of al-Qaa and the village of Ras Baalbeck as well as the current security situation in Lebanon.
The operation follows Hezbollah's six-day joint offensive with the Syrian army at the highlands of Arsal bordering Syria. Lebanon’s army did not formally declare its role in the offensive, but shelled terrorist positions in the operation area.
The resistance movement later said it had accomplished the main objective of the Arsal campaign.
Lebanon’s border areas have been hardly hit by the spillover from the Syria crisis over the past few years.
Some 400 Daesh terrorists are holed up in areas on the Lebanese side of the frontier, while hundreds more are on the Syrian side, according to Lebanon’s Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk.
On Monday, the Lebanese army pounded Daesh positions in the vicinity of al-Qaa and Ras Baalbeck.
The attack came in retaliation for the Daesh firing of seven Grad rockets into Lebanese territories.
Separately on Monday, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil paid a visit to al-Qaa, where he stressed that the army needs no consent from anyone for the upcoming liberation operation on the Syrian border.
“We do not need the permission of anyone to liberate our land and to confront Takfiri terrorism. The upcoming stage will be a roller coaster of pain, joy, freedom and independence in the face of this terrorism,” he said.
Moreover, Hisham Jaber, a retired Lebanese army general, predicted that battle against Daesh may last several weeks, saying, “It is a rugged area and the organization (Daesh) is well armed and experienced.”
Hezbollah has played a critical role in campaigns against militants along Lebanon's border and fought for years alongside Syrian army troops against terrorists wreaking havoc in the Arab country.