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Hezbollah, Syrian Forces Say Close to Ousting IS From Border

  • VOA News

In this photo released on Aug. 23, 2017, by the Lebanese Army official website, Lebanese soldiers take position during a battle against Islamic State militants, on the outskirts of Ras Baalbek, northeast Lebanon.

Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Syrian armed forces are closing in on Islamic State (IS) positions along the Lebanon-Syria border, Syrian army officials said Thursday.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah told Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV late Thursday that while IS still holds some small areas on both countries, "the most likely outcome of the battle will be a military victory and not a settlement."

The Syrian army, Hezbollah and the Lebanese army have all targeted IS militants, aiming to clear them from the western Qalamoun mountain range on the border of the two states. Although Lebanon has said it is not cooperating with either Hezbollah or Syria.

Syrian troops have recaptured large parts of northern and central Syria from IS occupation. The army is now pushing east, toward Deir el-Zour, where tens of thousands of civilians have been trapped by IS for nearly three years.

IS gained a foothold along Lebanon's border with Syria in 2014. As opposition factions in Syria were trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad from power, IS militants were able to gain a foothold in the country.

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