Lebanon: More than half of Daesh-held region recaptured

The Lebanese army said Sunday it captured more than half of a region held by Daesh militants on the second day of an offensive launched in a mountainous area bordering war-torn Syria.

“On the second day of the operation, the army managed to control 66 percent of the region held by Daesh,” said military spokesman Col. Fadi Boueid in a press conference at the defense ministry.

In a separate statement, the military said three soldiers were killed and one severely injured Sunday after a mine exploded while a vehicle carrying soldiers was passing through.

The operation aims to expel militants holed up in the towns of Ras Baalbek, Al-Fakhah and Al-Qaa, army commander Gen. Joseph Aoun said Saturday.

Read More: 3 Lebanese soldiers killed in landmine along border with Syria

President Michel Aoun called field commanders from the defense ministry, where he was monitoring operations.

“We are looking forward to a victory,” Aoun told them, according to a statement released by Lebanon’s presidency.

The army pounded Daesh positions in the Ras Baalbek area shortly after the operation was launched.

Coinciding with the military operation, Lebanese group Hezbollah announced that its fighters, along with Syrian regime forces, had begun an onslaught to recapture the outskirts of Qalamoun from Daesh in western Syria.

Read More: Lebanese army, Hezbollah declare offensives on Daesh at Syrian border

The Lebanese army had captured a number of strategic hills in Baalbek on Wednesday as part of the ongoing anti-Daesh operations in the area.

Earlier this month, Lebanese forces and Hezbollah fighters captured Juroud Arsal town near the Syrian border after a military operation against militants based in the area.

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