The militants from the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” were not prepared for the counter-assault launched by Hezbollah on Wednesday morning, as the Lebanese resistance force was able to take complete control of a number of hills near ‘Assal Al-Ward and Jaroud Brytaal.
According to a military source from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in Damascus, the soldiers from Hezbollah captured the strategic hill of Tal Khirbat Al-Nahlah on Wednesday night; this resulted in Hezbollah taking control of Jabhat Al-Nusra’s primary launching point for their attacks on the village of ‘Assal Al-Ward.
With Hezbollah in prime position to secure ‘Assal Al-Ward from all insurgent attacks, Jabhat Al-Nusra attempted to counter on Thursday morning; however, this assault quickly turned sour, as Hezbollah jumped on the offensive after repelling Jabhat Al-Nusra’s infiltration attempt into the village.
As of 7:30 A.M. Damascus Time, Hezbollah has secured the Lebanese border-crossing into the village of ‘Assal Al-Ward, killing two dozen Jabhat Al-Nusra militants and destroying two armored vehicles mounted with 14.5mm anti-aircraft machine guns.
The Syrian Arab Army’s 1st Armored Division launched their own assault on Jabhat Al-Nusra, ambushing a convoy of armed militants on the road from Al-Tafeel to ‘Assal Al-Ward – they would later confiscate a large 120mm cannon, while also destroying an armed vehicle mounted with a doshka.
After launching this offensive some 80 hours ago, Jabhat Al-Nusra has failed to gain any ground and their contingents are currently retreating from the western hills; this is coupled with the recent change in command of their operations in the Qalamoun Mountains.
Update (9:46 A.M. Damascus Time): Hezbollah has captured three more hills in the Qalamoun Mountains: Tal Wadi Yasharif, Tal Wadi Al-Dar, and Tal Wadi Al-Sihareej.