3 Lebanon troops killed in clashes with Syria militants

BEIRUT – Three Lebanese troops were killed on Friday in clashes with Syrian militants who briefly captured a mountainous area near the eastern village of Ras Baalbek.

Several militants were also killed after Lebanese troops recaptured the area, according to a security source.

In a statement, the Lebanese army said "terrorist groups" on Friday morning had attacked an army surveillance center dedicated to monitoring Lebanon's border with Syria.

The army, it added, had established control over the area by midday, following clashes with terrorist groups.

It went on to say that Lebanese troops had succeeded in ejecting terrorists from the area, killing and injuring several of them in the process.

"Some Lebanese troops were also wounded in the clashes," the army said.

Last summer, Lebanon became entangled in the Syrian quagmire when two militant groups fighting the Syrian regime infiltrated Lebanon, clashed with troops in the eastern town of Arsal, and captured several Lebanese soldiers.

The two militant groups – the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant – have repeatedly criticized Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah group for its ongoing military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite-dominated regime.

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