(Sputnik) – The Lebanese Armed Forces continue their military operation against Daesh in border areas with Syria. On Thursday, the military shelled Daesh positions with heavy artillery and rockets.
Earlier, the Lebanese Higher Defense Council said that the country’s authorities had approved recommendations on the military operation to liberate border areas from terrorists.
Muhammad Khawaja, prominent Lebanese military expert, underscored that in order to be successful the Lebanese operation should be coordinated with the Syrian Army despite political difference between the countries.
“There is a common war and we have a common enemy. In order to defeat Daesh, [Lebanon] needs to cooperate with Damascus. I guess that the Lebanese military will contact with the Syrian Army on the ground despite political tensions,” Khawaja told Sputnik.
The expert noted that there have been differences among Lebanese politicians on the Syrian crisis. Some Lebanese politicians support Damascus and others stand by the Syrian opposition. Moreover, there are some forces in the Lebanese government and parliament that are against coordinating the operation with the Syrian military.Khawaja also commented on reports by some Lebanese media outlets that the United States may provide support for the operation. The expert said that personnel of the Lebanese military are professionally trained for fighting terrorism. As for US assistance, it is likely to be limited to munition supplies.
“The role of the US may involve supplies of ammunition, including for 155-mm heavy artillery system and M-16 assault rifles. Lebanon doesn’t need American military experts and aerial support,” Khawaja said.
Commenting on the beginning of the operation, the expert pointed out that it was the right moment for such an offensive, taking into account the recent advances by the Syrian Army and its allies.
“In recent months, they liberated hundreds of residential areas from Daesh and took control over 45 kilometers of the Syrian-Iraqi border,” Khawaja said.
He added that the Lebanese military will play the key role in the liberation of mountainous areas along the border, including in Ras Baalbek and Al Qaa.
Since the beginning of Syrian civil war in 2011, Lebanon has faced a number of security challenges. Lebanese army and Shia militia Hezbollah have been on high alert amid the conflict and have been preventing attempts of terrorists to penetrate Lebanon’s territory.On July 18, the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced that the Lebanese armed forces would be dispatched to the Lebanese-Syrian border in order to fight against Daesh. He explained this decision by increased cases of Daesh attacks on Lebanese security forces.
Currently Daesh takes control over 54 square miles of the Lebanese borderline territory in the mountain regions of Ras Baalbek and Al Qaa and 21 square miles of Syrian borderline territory.
This report prepared by Sputnik.