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Lebanon Army Declares Border Ceasefire to Negotiate IS Deal

Nine Lebanese soldiers were captured by IS in August 2014 after it overran the border town of Arsal.Nine Lebanese soldiers were captured by IS in August 2014 after it overran the border town of Arsal.

The Lebanese Army has announced a pause in fighting on the Syrian-Lebanese border to allow negotiations over its troops held by self-styled Islamic State terrorist group. Syrian forces are also battling IS in the area with Hezbollah’s help.

A temporary ceasefire took effect on Sunday in an IS enclave along the Syria-Lebanon border, where both Lebanese and Syrian forces are locked in a battle against militants, DW reported.

The aim of the truce near the town of Ras Baalbek is to “make way for the last phase of negotiations linked to the fate of the kidnapped soldiers,” the Lebanese Army said in a statement.

IS captured nine soldiers in August 2014 after it overran the border town of Arsal. The fate of the captive soldiers remains unknown.

A security source told the Reuters news agency that Lebanon’s army had begun “mediated” talks on Sunday for the release of its soldiers.

Northeast Lebanon is facing the brunt of the protracted Syrian war, with IS and other militant groups increasing their presence in the border region.

Lebanese and Syrian armies launched simultaneous but separate military offensives in the IS-held area two weeks ago. Syrian troops have the support of Lebanon’s Shia group, Hezbollah, in the battle.

The Syrian Army and Hezbollah, too, announced a ceasefire in Syria’s west Qalamoun border region, Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV reported Sunday.

 

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