BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army is not negotiating with Daesh militants in the barren areas close to the border with Syria, a Lebanese military source told Arab News.
“The army is getting ready to carry out the fourth and final stage of Operation Barrens’ Dawn against the terrorist group in Lebanon,” the source said.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov confirmed Moscow’s “support of the Lebanese government, people and army.”
During his meeting with Lebanese Defense Minister Yacoub Sarraf, Bogdanov highlighted “the importance of Lebanese-Russian ties and the need to further strengthen them.”
The military source said the army “is continuously bombarding terrorist targets, and is still moving forward, with all its equipment, toward the frontlines.”
The source added: “There’s no need for coordination between the Lebanese Army and the Syrian Army or Hezbollah in terms of reaching the borders. Talk about the need for coordination because both sides will intersect at the end of the battle is nonsense.”
The source said the Lebanese Army is supposed to reach the Martbaya-Meera Valley from the Lebanese side, and the Syrian Army and Hezbollah from the Syrian side.
The area “is full of mines planted by Daesh terrorists who retreated to caves in the highlands,” the source added. “We have to de-mine the area before reaching the caves.”
The Lebanese Army said in a statement: “Units are getting readied on the military and logistical levels for the fourth stage of Operation Barrens’ Dawn in Ras Baalbek and Al-Qaa, while the army’s artillery and aircraft are bombarding the remaining terrorist sites and gatherings in Wadi Martbaya and its surroundings. The army’s engineering unit is building new roads, cleaning the liberated areas and detonating the bombs, booby traps, mines and suspicious objects left by the terrorists.”
On Thursday, news agencies reported that Daesh fighters were asking to negotiate their withdrawal to Syria’s Deir Ezzor province.
Al Arabiya news channel quoted a Syrian military official as saying a deal was reached between Daesh and Hezbollah regarding the withdrawal to Deir Ezzor.
News sites reported that Daesh had Hezbollah members’ corpses in its possession, and possibly a hostage captured previously in Palmyra, Syria.
Hezbollah’s military media center said its fighters and the Syrian Army continued to make progress against Daesh on the Syrian side of the border.