“Lebanese troops have been quietly making steady progress, fighting against Islamic extremists”

In a remote corner of Lebanon near the border with Syria, Lebanese troops have been quietly making steady progress, fighting against Islamic extremists holed up in the rugged mountains. It is a fight less visible than the U.S.-led war against the Islamic State group in Syria, Iraq and Libya. But hardly a day passes without army artillery stationed on the edge of this restive eastern Lebanese town pounding nearby militant positions. Aided directly by the United States and Britain — and indirectly by the Syrian army and its Lebanese militant Hezbollah allies working on the other side of the border — the under-equipped Lebanese military has registered steady successes against the militants. In recent months, Lebanese armed forces have clawed back significant territory once held by IS and al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, and have killed and detained hundreds of extremists, forcing many others to flee. According to the army, the militants still hold about 50 square kilometers (19 square miles) of land in the border area, compared with 20 times this size in the months after Syria’s conflict began.

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