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Militants begin evacuating from Lebanon’s Arsal to Syria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A picture taken on August 2, 2017 shows the Lebanese town of Arsal from across the border with Syria in a mountainous area around the town of Flita. (Photo by AFP)

Hundreds of Syrian militants have started evacuating from an enclave in Lebanon on the border with Syria after the defeat of Takfiri terrorists during a Hezbollah offensive. 

Buses carrying 300 Saraya Ahl al-Sham militants and 3,000 Syrian refugees left eastern Arsal on Monday at 10:00 a.m. local time, the Lebanon-based Arabic-language al-Manar television network reported. 

The departure comes as part of an agreement that followed a July's offensive by the Lebanese resistance movement and the Syrian army to drive out militants from their last stronghold in the border area between Lebanon and Syria.

Earlier this month, the Lebanese resistance movement said its fighters had regained control over all areas in Arsal, which lies about 124 kilometers northeast of Beirut.

Al-Nusra Front terrorists, now known as Fateh al-Sham, withdrew following a series of consecutive defeats that forced them to agree to a ceasefire.

Under the truce deal, the Syrian government will shuttle the militants and their families to Idlib Province and some other areas.

The Lebanese security official overseeing the arrangements, General Abbas Ibrahim, said on Friday that a group of the refugees would go to the government-held area of Assal al-Ward along the Syrian-Lebanese border.

He said the militants and their families will be headed to another part of Syria, without elaborating.

However, a military media unit run by the resistance movement said last week that they would go to the al-Ruhaiba town in the Eastern Qalamoun region, which is held by the Takfiri militants.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stressed on Sunday that the areas liberated from the control of the militants would be handed over to the Lebanese army.

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