Lebanese Army Declares Cease-Fire with IS on Syrian Border

Lebanese Hezbollah resistance fighters stand near military tanks in western Qalamoun Syria

Lebanon's army was fighting Islamic State near Ras Baalbek, and the Syrian army and Hezbollah have joined forced in Syria's west Qalamoun region. The group fights alongside the Syrian regime army in major battles. Lebanon and Shia Hizballah each said they have made gains against the militants, driving them back into a smaller zone in the arid hills on the border.

Syrian state media, citing a military source, said a deal had been reached to move Islamic State militants to eastern Syria.

On Aug. 2, 2014, Daesh announced it took 11 Lebanese soldiers as hostages on the outskirts of Arsal on the Syrian-Lebanese border; later the terror group executed two of them.

Nine troops remained missing, but today Ibrahim spoke only of eight bodies and said he was "almost certain that the case is closed".

"Islamic State asked for negotiations and a withdrawal, and the Syrian side and Hizbullah agreed", the official said.

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The head of Lebanon's General Security agency "Abbas Ibrahim has been authorised to negotiate with them for information on the kidnapped soldiers", the source said. Senior officials of the Syrian troops repeatedly stated that they would not rest until they exterminate or capture the last terrorist within the Syrian-Lebanese territorial limits. He said DNA tests will be carried out to determine the identity of the soldiers. Hezbollah had heretofore been fighting both ISIS and al-Qaeda from positions it had taken in the border region with Syria and from within Syrian territory.

At least six soldiers and reportedly dozens of ISIL militants have been killed in the Lebanese offensive against the extremist group, dubbed by the army "Dawn of the Barrens".

Any coordination between the Lebanese army and either the Syrian army or Hezbollah would be politically sensitive in Lebanon and could jeopardise the sizeable U.S. military aid the country receives.

A Western diplomat praised the Lebanese army's performance in the border battle in "a risky and complex operation" that the diplomat said would have been "simply unimaginable" a decade ago, reported Reuters on Sunday.

"We see no evidence of substantive cooperation (between the army and Hizballah)", the diplomat added.

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