The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has released a video and a series of photos documenting its recent operations against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, is fighting alongside Bashar al Assad’s forces against Al Nusrah and other rebels in Syria. But the two sides have also repeatedly fought one another in Lebanon as well.
In the video above, Al Nusrah shows footage from its raid on a Hezbollah outpost in the town of Brital, which is close to the border with Syria. In text displayed during the video, the al Qaeda group claims its fighters killed 11 Hezbollah jihadists, wounded tens of others, and forced the remaining Hezbollah forces to flee.
Al Nusrah says its fighters captured a variety of weaponry, including an American-made rocket launcher. And the group also claims that only one of its members was killed and one other wounded during the raid.
Skirmishes also took place elsewhere inside Lebanon. And the total number of Hezbollah casualties varies greatly in the reporting, with some reports saying that 10 Hebollah fighters were killed.
Hezbollah sources, meanwhile, have given their version of events to the press. Citing a “person close to Hezbollah,” Reuters reports that at least 16 Nusrah Front fighters were killed. While Hezbollah temporarily lost control of the outpost, Hezbollah sources say, Al Nusrah’s fighters were pushed back into Syria.
According to Reuters, the Al Nusrah fighters “attacked at least 10 Hezbollah bases along a mountain range close to the Syrian border.” Their assault covered “a large area stretching from south of the town of Baalbek to areas close to the border town of Arsal.”
In August, Al Nusrah and the Islamic State, a jihadist group that was disowned by al Qaeda’s general command in February, fought against Lebanese forces in Arsal. In addition to killing a number of Lebanese security officials and soldiers, the jihadists took others hostage. Al Nusrah and the Islamic State have killed at least three of the Lebanese hostages. And the Al Nusrah Front continues to use the captives in its anti-Iranian propaganda.
Al Nusrah claims that its attack on the Hezbollah outpost near Brital is revenge for attacks on refugees and others in Arsal.