‘Qalamoun Conquest Army’ approaches regime-controlled villages

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The rebel campaign against Hezbollah and regime forces in the Lebanese-Syrian border region progressed on Tuesday as rebels closed in on two regime-controlled villages in the foothills of the Qalamoun Mountains, a local reporter told Syria Direct. “The battle is currently ongoing in Arsal al-Ward and al-Juba, and al-Juba is nearly completely encircled except for some positions that opposition forces retreated from,” said Aram al-Doumani, a correspondent for opposition news outlet Souriya Press. “Hezbollah is trying to put pressure on the opposition, coming from al-Nahle in Lebanon, with the regime pushing from Yabroud,” al-Doumani continued, explaining the regime’s strategy to carry out a pincer movement against rebel forces in Qalamoun by advancing from the east and west. Rebel factions, including Jabhat a-Nusra and other Islamist factions, began a joint campaign to push Hezbollah back into Lebanon under the banner the “Qalamoun Conquest Army” on Monday. “Our goal is to capture Qalamoun but if Hezbollah attacks us then we will send forces to the village from where the attack was launched even if it is on the Lebanese side of the border,” a leader with one of the participating rebel battalions was quotedas saying by the opposition Smart News Agency on Monday.