Hezbollah says seizes strategic valley from militants at Syria-Lebanon border


Hezbollah said its forces seized a strategic valley from militants on Monday, the latest advance in an offensive to oust extremists from their last foothold along the Syria-Lebanon border.

Hezbollah said it had advanced from several directions in the Wadi al-Kheil valley in Juroud Arsal, a barren mountainous border zone that has served as a base for militants linked to al Qaeda and ISIS.

The advance gave Hezbollah control over what had been “the most important base for Nusra Front” in the area, Hezbollah’s military media unit said in a statement.

The offensive, launched on Friday by Hezbollah and the Syrian army, has so far focused on militants from al Qaeda’s former Syria branch, previously called the Nusra Front.

Hezbollah has reported rapid advances against Nusra fighters. The next target will be territory held by ISIS militants, local media have reported.

The Syrian army and Hezbollah recaptured the area around the town of Fleita on the Syrian side of the border on Sunday, the Syrian state news agency SANA said.

The offensive has so far killed 19 Hezbollah combatants and more than 130 militants, according to a security source.