Syrian troops, al Qaeda-linked militants clash in Lebanon
Intense clashes were raging since Saturday morning between the Syrian troops backed by the Lebanese Hezbollah and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front militants in Lebanon.
Damascus: Intense clashes were raging since Saturday morning between the Syrian troops backed by the Lebanese Hezbollah and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front militants in Lebanon.
According to the anti-government Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), violent clashes flared up in the area of Flaita, in the western part of al-Qalamoun, in Lebanon, Xinhua reported.
Meanwhile, al-Mayadeen TV denied reports that the Nusra fighters managed to storm a Hezbollah position in Flaita, adding that the clashes raged on. No reports of losses, however, have yet emerged.
Syrian government troops have been fighting rebel groups and militants since 2013 in the western part of al-Qalamoun, managing to cut the ebels` main supply line from neighbouring Lebanon.
However, several militant groups have, for months, been assembling in the eastern part of al-Qalamoun to fight both government troops and the Sunni militant organisation, the Islamic State (IS).
Battles in the eastern part of al-Qalamoun have raged on over the past two months between the IS and the Nusra Front.
According to reports, the battles in that region are important for the IS, which, if victorious, would besiege rival extremist groups in some pockets in the western part of al-Qalamoun and force them to pledge allegiance to it.
Hezbollah has battled alongside the Syrian government troops over the past two years, as the Syrian administration had supported the Shia militia against the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006.
Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah, has said that his troops were fighting in Syria also to prevent extremist groups from finding their way into Lebanon, which is not far from the raging violence next door.
In another incident Saturday, four people were killed and eight others wounded when rebels fired multiple mortar shells into government-controlled areas in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, according to the SOHR.
Clashes also took place between government troops and the rebel militants in the al-Rashidien neighbourhood in western Aleppo.
Also in Damascus, six jihadis were killed during clashes with government troops in the eastern al-Ghouta suburb, the SOHR said.