DAMASCUS, SYRIA (3:30 P.M.) – On Friday morning, the Lebanese Army raided two major refugee camps in the Jird Arsal area near the eastern border with Syria amid credible report they had been infiltrated by outlawed groups.
During the large-scale crackdown, Lebanese security forces went from door-to-door in the Al-Nour and Al-Qaroyah camps and arrested some 300 suspected Islamic State and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (Syrian Al-Qaeda) militants after informants supplied a full list of designated terrorists to the government.
Amid the surprise raid, at least 10 jihadist militants were killed after opening fire on the Lebanese Army as it stormed through the camps. In addition, a couple ISIS suicide bombers detonated their explosive belts, thereby inflicting casualties on approximately 30 Lebanese soldiers and non-combattants of Syrian nationality.
The preemptive crackdown took place after rumours indicated that terrorist operations were in the making, aimed at terrorizing the population living in government-held urban areas.
Both ISIS and Al-Qaeda maintain a minor presence in the West Qalamoun region despite being targeted frequently by government forces. Thus far, the Shia-led Hezbollah has largely refrained from involvement to deter sectarian tensions in the predominately Sunni border area.