Lebanese troops seize area by restive border town

AP News
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Posted: Sep 09, 2014 7:50 AM
Lebanese troops seize area by restive border town

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese troops have advanced near Syria, almost separating a border town from rebel-held areas in nearby fields, a senior military official and state media said Tuesday.

The military official and the National News Agency said that troops captured a post they lost when Islamic extremists overran the town of Arsal last month, killing and capturing a number of soldiers and police officers.

The military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said "90 percent" of the area between the town of Arsal and its rebel-held outskirts that stretches to Syria is now held by troops.

"Arsal is a Lebanese town and the terrorists are now in the outskirts," the official said by telephone.

The latest round of fighting that began on Monday came as anger swelled in Lebanon over the continued captivity of the soldiers and police officers. Over the past days, images emerged showing that militants of the Islamic State group beheaded a second captive Lebanese soldier.

Militants in Syria, including the Islamic State group, are holding around 20 soldiers and police officers. They were seized after militants briefly overran Arsal, the most serious spillover yet of Syria's conflict into the neighboring country.