Lebanon’s military has announced a ceasefire in its week-old battle against the militant Islamic State (IS) group along the Syrian border, saying it will allow for negotiations with the terrorists over the fate of several Lebanese soldiers captured three years ago.
Militants have long been active in mountainous eastern Lebanon near the border with Syria, where a bloody civil war has raged since 2011.
In 2014, militants invaded the border town of Arsal, capturing 30 Lebanese soldiers and police. Security forces in the region have since come under regular attack.
The Syrian army and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, which are waging a separate campaign on the other side of the border, also announced a ceasefire.
The Central Military Media, an outlet run jointly by Hezbollah and the Syrian army, said the Sunday ceasefire will pave the way for a comprehensive agreement to end the fight against IS in the area.
The US-backed Lebanese military denies that it is coordinating with the Syrian army. Hezbollah has been fighting alongside the Syrian forces since 2013.