Fierce confrontations continue between Hezbollah and Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front fighters in Qalamoon, with the latter threatening to execute 25 Lebanese soldiers it holds hostage.
“We will start by executing Lebanese captives in the event of the Lebanese army intervention in Qalamoon,” said Nusra Front sources to the Orient-Net news website.
In August 2014 Nusra Front fighters attacked Arsal, a district near the Lebanese-Syrian border, and captured Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and other policemen. The group later executed one of them.
The families of the hostages have demonstrated and protested in Lebanon to pressure the government to negotiate with the fighters and implement a deal.
Amid the continuous clashes between Hezbollah and Nusra Front, Nusra said on its Twitter account that its fighters made a “tactical withdrawal” from the Assal al-Ward cliffs as Hezbollah fighters advance there from Lebanon.
Syrian opposition groups have claimed through social media accounts that they killed five leaders of Hezbollah militias and Syrian regime forces in Qalamoon, Southern Syria.
The opposition's main factions such as Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front banded together on Tuesday in what they called the “Conquest of Qalamoon Army.”
Since then, the regime has launched dozens of air strikes on Qalamoon and its outskirts, activists said.
Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said Tuesday about the situation in Qalamoon that "we haven't announced anything official... and even when we start, we will not issue a statement."
The four-year long war in Syria had claimed the lives of more than 220,000 people, and at least 6.7 million are internally displaced while more than 4 million have fled the country according to UN estimates.