BEIRUT (AP) — Hezbollah fighters captured a Syrian village Tuesday near the border with Lebanon after intense fighting with Islamic militants, the group’s television station said, while an activist said battles are concentrating near a strategic Syrian hill.
The battles come amid reports in Lebanon that Hezbollah and the Syrian army are expected to launch an offensive against members of the Nusra Front, al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, and the Islamic State group in Qalamoun.
Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, said in a televised speech late Tuesday that his group will attack militants in Qalamoun, adding that “time will tell” when the battle will become full blown. He added that there will be no formal announcement before the widely anticipated battle begins.
Nasrallah vowed that his group will continue fighting in Syria along with President Bashar Assad’s forces, saying recent defeats of the Syrian army in the northwestern province of Idlib do not mean the president’s opponents have won the war.