The Lebanese army launched an offensive on Saturday against an Islamic State enclave on the northeastern border with Syria, as the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah announced an assault on the militants from the Syrian side of the frontier, Reuters reported.
The Lebanese army operation got underway at 5 a.m. (0200 GMT), targeting Islamic State positions near the town of Ras Baalbek with rockets, artillery and helicopters, a Lebanese security source said. The area is the last part of the Lebanese-Syrian frontier under insurgent control.
A security source said the offensive was making advances with several hills taken in the push against the militants entrenched on fortified high ground, in outposts and in caves.
An army spokesman said a third of the area in the hands of the militants was so far now recaptured since the offensive began with twenty militants killed in either direct combat, shelling or aerial strikes. Ten soldiers were injured.
"The army has succeeded in eliminating a very large part of their men and equipment. We have tightened the noose around them and they have become much weaker," Colonel Nazih Jraish told reporters.
The operation by Hezbollah and the Syrian army targeted the area across the border in the western Qalamoun region of Syria.
Hezbollah-run al-Manar TV said that its fighters were ascending a series of strategic heights known as the Mosul Mountains that overlook several unofficial border crossings used by the militants.
A Hezbollah statement said the group was meeting its pledge to "remove the terrorist threat at the borders of the nation" and was fighting "side by side" with the Syrian army.
It made no mention of the Lebanese army operation.
The Lebanese army said it was not coordinating the assault with Hezbollah or the Syrian army.