On Thursday afternoon, a convoy of fighters from the Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” attempted to cross into Syria from the Lebanese border-city of Al-Tafayl, but were stopped dead in their tracks after a Hezbollah contingent laid a near perfect ambush on the encroaching enemy combatants.
According to a military source in Damascus, Hezbollah field reports indicated that 18 enemy combatants from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Jabhat Al-Nusra were among the dead and another 11 militants were wounded before the remaining fled the Al-Tafayl area to Jaroud ‘Arsal, where they were later bombed by the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF).
The Al-Qaeda affiliated militants were believed to be heading towards the small pocket of territory that Jabhat Al-Nusra and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham control at Jaroud Rankous; this area of the Qalamoun Mountains sits just north of the recently besieged resort-city of Al-Zabadani and south of Jaroud Faleeta on the Syrian-Lebanese border.
Before the implementation of the Al-Zabadani ceasefire, Jaroud Rankous was the next place the Syrian Armed Forces and Lebanese Resistance were preparing to attack after the remaining territory in Madaya was secured by the latter militaries.
As long as the Islamist rebels control Jaroud Rankous and Jaroud Qarah, they will have access to Syria from Lebanon; however, it would be an arduous journey due to the vast mountains that surround these areas.