DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:00 P.M.) – Rival jihadist groups are fighting one another in eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria as Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) launched an offensive against ISIS in the Al-Thallajat area beginning on Friday morning.
Targeting ISIS-held positions on the axis between Joroud Fletah and Al-Jarajeer in the West Qalamoun mountains, HTS attacked positions defended by ISIS militants.
So far, both sides have sustained heavy casualties although neither side has gained any ground. Nevertheless, the clashes resulted in the death of HTS field commander Abu Yazeed while five Al-Qaeda affiliated insurgents were wounded. Meanwhile, ISIS lost at least three fighters, identified as Abu Omar Al-Qalamouni, Jaafar Al-Zawahri and Al-Zaeem while around a dozen more were injured.
The jihadist infighting comes just one day after heavy clashes erupted between HTS and ISIS at the predominately Palestinian Yarmouk Camp in southern Damascus. HTS reportedly began its offensive in retaliation over the renewed Yarmouk hostilities.
Hezbollah and the Lebanese Army are also present in the West Qalamoun region although they have been unable to decisively defeat Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State thus far.
Last week, Amaq Agency released a batch of pictures showcasing clashes between ISIS and Hezbollah in the aforementioned border area.