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Jul 21, 1:44 AM EDT

Syrian army and Hezbollah launch attack near Lebanese border


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BEIRUT (AP) -- The Syrian army and members of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group have launched a major ground offensive in a border area between the two countries.

Government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media reports that military operations began Friday from two fronts on the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Arsal and the Syrian village of Fleeta.

The offensive was widely expected after negotiations with militants to leave the area failed over the past days.

The region is a stronghold of Syria's al-Qaida's branch, known as Fatah al-Sham Front, as well as the Islamic State group and the Levant People's Brigades.

Video released by SCMM shows Hezbollah's artillery pounding militant positions.

It was not immediately clear if the Lebanese army is taking part in the battles from the Lebanese side of the border.

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