Sides ex­change bod­ies af­ter truce on Syria bor­der

Muscat Daily - - NATION -

Beirut, Le­banon - Le­banon’s Hezbol­lah move­ment and ex­trem­ists on Sun­day ex­changed the bod­ies of fight­ers as part of a cease­fire deal for the restive Syria-Le­banon bor­der.

The truce, an­nounced by the Shi­ite move­ment and con­firmed by Le­banon’s Gen­eral Se­cu­rity agency on Thurs­day, ended six days of a Hezbol­lah-led as­sault on Al Qaeda’s for­mer Syr­ian branch in the moun­tain­ous Ju­rud Ar­sal bor­der re­gion.

Hezbol­lah’s ‘War Me­dia’ out­let re­ported that the ‘first phase of the deal’ took place on Sun­day.

‘The bod­ies of nine Al Nusra fight­ers were ex­changed for the re­mains of five Hezbol­lah fight­ers who died in the Ju­rud bat­tles’, it said.

The sec­ond phase is due with the re­turn to Syria of 9,000 ex­trem­ists and their fam­i­lies who have been in east­ern Le­banon since the be­gin­ning of the Syria war, Hezbol­lah said.

In ex­change, an un­de­ter­mined num­ber of Hezbol­lah pris­on­ers would be freed. The ‘War Me­dia’ out­let said the bod­ies of the Syr­ian mil­i­tants were handed over to the Le­banon’s Gen­eral Se­cu­rity and their re­mains were to be trans­ported to Syria’s north­west­ern prov­ince of Idlib.

Al Nusra Front was Al Qaeda’s af­fil­i­ate in Syria un­til mid-2016 when it broke off ties, be­fore go­ing on to found a new al­liance called Hayat Tahrir alSham (HTS), which now con­trols large swathes of Idlib.

Hezbol­lah launched its of­fen­sive on Ju­rud Ar­sal - a bar­ren bor­der area used by mil­i­tants as a hide­out for sev­eral years - on July 21. Hezbol­lah had cor­nered ri­val fight­ers in a small pocket of ter­ri­tory when it an­nounced the truce.

Head of Le­banon’s Gen­eral Se­cu­rity agency Maj Gen Ibrahim Ab­bas con­firmed the deal, say­ing it would also see the trans­fer of Syr­ian fight­ers and refugees to Idlib prov­ince.

(AFP)

Am­bu­lances with the bod­ies of the Hezbol­lah fight­ers killed in week-long clashes, en­ter the vil­lage of Al-Lab­weh, af­ter cease­fire on Sun­day

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