The Syrian Armed Forces and Hezbollah have some unfinished business to take care of in the Qalamoun Mountains of the Rif Dimashq Governorate after a three month hiatus to clear the strategic border-city of Al-Zabadani from the Islamist rebel factions entrenched inside.

What is left under the control of the armed Islamist factions in the Qalamoun Mountains? Quite a bit of territory, actually; in fact, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) still control a small parcel of land in Jaroud Rankous (southern Qalamoun) and a substantial amount of land in Jaroud Qarah (northern Qalamoun).

Not only does Hezbollah have to combat the Islamist rebel groups and ISIS in the Syrian portion of the Qalamoun Mountains, but also, inside the Lebanese border-district of ‘Arsal, where the aforementioned terrorist factions enjoy autonomous control over large swathes of territory that the Lebanese Armed Forces have been unable to recover since August of 2014.

However, unlike the recent Al-Zabadani offensive, the Lebanese Resistance will be carrying out these operations on their own, while their trusted ally from the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division is redeployed to another volatile front inside Syria.

Hezbollah’s primary focus will be Jaroud Qarah and Ras Ba’albak; these two areas have recently become a hotspot for ISIS to launch an assault on the Syrian Arab Army’s positions at the border-city of Al-Qusayr in the Homs Governorate.

If Hezbollah captures Jaroud Rankous and Jaroud Qarah, they will have successfully sealed off the Syrian-Lebanese border; this would be one the biggest blows to their enemies, as they rely on this border to resupply and reinforce their fighters inside western Syria.

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Editor-in-Chief Specializing in Near Eastern Affairs and Economics.

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