Hezbollah Repels IS Attack on Lebanon-Syria Border

Hezbollah Repels IS Attack on Lebanon-Syria BorderHezbollah Repels IS Attack on Lebanon-Syria Border

Hezbollah forces repelled an attack Tuesday by Islamic State militant group in an area on the Lebanon-Syria border as a major battle between the two groups looms in the rugged mountainous region, the Palestinian group's TV station reported.

Al-Manar TV said the IS attack targeted several Hezbollah positions outside the northeastern Lebanese border village of Ras Baalbek. The enduing battle left several IS militants dead or wounded and three vehicles, including a bulldozer, destroyed, the channel said. It did not say whether there were casualties among Hezbollah members, AP reported.

Hezbollah has been on the offensive in Syria's Qalamoun Mountains for weeks and has captured territory from Al-Qaeda's branch in Syria, the Nusra Front. With the insurgent group almost defeated in the area, a major battle is expected between Hezbollah and IS. Hezbollah is involved in Syria's civil war, supporting President Bashar Al-Assad's forces. The group cites the fear that militants will sweep through Shia and Christian villages in diverse Lebanon as the reason for its involvement in Syria.

The total area of the Qalamoun Mountains that was being contested is about 1,000 square kilometers, of which 340 square kilometers lie in Lebanon and are under the control of IS militants and the Nusra Front, according to Hezbollah.

On Monday, Al-Manar said that Hezbollah fighters and Syrian troops have so far captured half the area.