Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda Reach Ceasefire Near Syrian Border After Fighting Leaves Dozens Dead

Stringer - Anadolu Agency/AFP
Stringer - Anadolu Agency/AFP

Shiite Iran’s terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, and a Sunni jihadist organization linked to al-Qaeda recently reached a ceasefire after clashes in Lebanon near the country’s border with Syria left more than 150 people dead.

Hezbollah and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), a Syrian group affiliated with al-Qaeda, exchanged 14 corpses as part of the Lebanese government-brokered truce, reports the Telegraph.

Nine of the bodies belonged to JFS and five to Hezbollah, adds the news outlet, citing the War Media Center, an Arabic-language Twitter account linked to the Shiite group.

Al Jazeera reports that Hezbollah lost two dozen fighters and the al-Qaeda affiliate about 150.

“The two groups had been fighting in the mountainous region of Arsal after Hezbollah launched an offensive aimed at driving back Jabhat Fateh al Sham over the border to Syria,” notes the Telegraph. “A ceasefire between the two groups came into effect on Thursday after Jabhat Fateh al Sham agreed to move its fighters and their families to Idlib, in Syria.”

On Wednesday, Hezbollah’s leader Hasan Nasrallah declared that his Shiite group “was in the face of a very big military victory” in Arsal, Lebanon.

In Syria, Iran-allied Hezbollah fighters have been fighting against rebels and jihadist groups on behalf of Russian-backed dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Some analysts believe al-Qaeda’s presence is stronger in Syria than in any other country.

Jennifer Cafarella from the Institute for the Study of War told American lawmakers in July said, “Al Qaeda’s main effort is in Syria, which has become the world’s largest jihadist incubator.” She added, “Al Qaeda’s intent in Syria is to embed within the uprising against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and to transform that uprising into a global religious insurgency.”

The Sunni terrorist group, considered to be ISIS’s rival, has reportedly set the conditions in Syria to establish an Islamic emirate.

Katherine Zimmerman from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) told members of the U.S. Congress that month:

Al Qaeda is strongest in Syria, where it has used the conditions created by the Syrian civil war and [the U.S.-led coalition’s] Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS [Islamic State] to establish deep sanctuary in the northwest and position itself to expand farther into the Syrian theater.

Moreover, some analysts believe al-Qaeda will incorporate ISIS fighters into its ranks if it is defeated.


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