Hezbollah says begun assault on IS Lebanon border pocket from Syria

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The Lebanese army seized 80 of 120 square kilometers from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters along its north-eastern border with Syria in its ongoing "Jroud Dawn" military operation, which began 5am (0200 GMT) Saturday.

"This is is the final area of the border between Lebanon and Syria which the Lebanese army says is still vulnerable to attacks by armed groups,"Al Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Beirut, said".

The operation followed an offensive launched by the Lebanese Army against the IS on the other side of the border.

At the time, the Lebanese army was not engaged in the fight but took defensive positions in case of any attempt by the Nusra militants to carry out counter attacks.

The army's assault comes after Lebanon's powerful Shiite militant group Hizbollah waged its own campaign against jihadists operating in another border area south of the current battle.

Security along Lebanon's eastern border with Syria has always been a concern, and in 2014 ISIL and the Nusra Front group invaded the town of Arsal and kidnapped 30 Lebanese soldiers and policemen.

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The militant group is now falling back deeper into the Euphrates valley region of eastern Syria.

The spokesman for the Lebanese army, Brigadier-General Ali Kanso, said the offensive did not start today.

The battle is fraught with sensitivities, however, because of the duelling roles played by the US-backed Lebanese force and Iran-backed Hezbollah, which operate alongside one another as both allies and rivals in Lebanon's complicated political landscape. Hezbollah has been fighting in Syria alongside Assad's forces since 2013.

According to the Lebanese army, the operation's goal was to remove IS militants who occupied the territory.

A key political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused the US-led coalition of seeking to fragment Syria, saying the plan will fail.

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