A Deal with The Devil? Hezbollah Now in Talks with ISIS


Lebanon would not want to appear to be operating alongside the Syrian government, and the presence of Hezbollah militias from Lebanon fighting in Syria is also politically sensitive.

The Lebanese Army, which announced the cease-fire in a statement, said the truce allowed negotiations to proceed in efforts recover its missing soldiers from 2014. The area is the last sector of the Lebanese-Syrian border under militant control.

The terror-labeled group has revealed to Hezbollah the location of the bodies of four Hezbollah fighters who were killed in the Qalamoun battle.

Northeast Lebanon saw one of the worst spillovers of Syria's war into Lebanon in 2014, when ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, and other armed groups briefly overran the border town of Arsal.

The military operation, codenamed Fajr Al-Jroud, led to restoration of 100 sq.km. from the 120 sq.km. area previously controlled by IS.

Six Lebanese army troops have been killed since August 19.

Nine days back, the Lebanese army had launched an offensive to dislodge Daesh terrorists from a mountainous area near the Syria border.

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Hezbollah sources in Lebanon said the Islamic State had "succumbed under fire and asked for negotiations".

The head of Lebanon's internal security agency says eight Lebanese soldiers who had been in captivity of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group since 2014 are nearly certainly dead.

The deal was also a departure from previous Lebanese government policy toward Syrian refugees, which had held that returns to Syria would only be facilitated by Beirut if they were approved by the United Nations. The province is southeast of Raqqa, where the U.S-backed Syrian opposition forces are battling ISIS militants.

During that visit, Mr Nasrallah said in his speech last week, Damascus stressed that if the Lebanese government wanted to coordinate with it on reaching a deal with ISIL then it "must submit a formal and open request to the Syrian authorities" - something that would force Beirut to recognise Mr Al Assad's legitimacy.

Hezbollah is fighting alongside Syrian regime troops.

Coordinating with Hezbollah would be politically sensitive as Lebanon is a United States ally, and the U.S. has designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

"We see no evidence of substantive cooperation (between the army and Hezbollah)", the diplomat added.