Lebanon begins mediated talks with Daesh over fate of captive soldiers

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Islamic State has asked the Syrian Army and its ally Hezbollah to let it withdraw from Syria's border with Lebanon to the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, an official in the pro-Assad military alliance said on Thursday.

Under the ceasefire, Hezbollah members have entered an area of west Qalamoun to confirm that Lebanese soldiers held by Daesh are buried there, the source said.

According to military bodies, the military previously rejected a proposal by the Daesh extremists to leave for the northern province of Raqqa and told them to immediately surrender.

Meanwhile, Syrian Arab Army units destroyed a cache of ammunition and a number of dens belonging to the ISIL terrorists in Deir Ezzor city and its countryside at a time when new ISIL-affiliated terrorist groups fled away from the fighting fronts.

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The Central Military Media, an outlet run jointly by Hezbollah and the Syrian army, said the Sunday ceasefire, labelled the Qalamoun ceasefire deal, will pave the way for a comprehensive agreement to end the fighting in the area.

The army had said the missing soldiers were its "top concern", as it launched an offensive earlier this month against an estimated 600 IS jihadists in the border region.

"So far, more than [about 104 square miles] have been fully captured on Syrian land" by Shiite Hezbollah and the Syrian army, revealed Nasrallah, adding, "Around [15 square miles] remain under Daesh [ISIS] control".

"We believe that these remains belong to the soldiers".

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Northeast Lebanon saw one of the worst spillovers of Syria's war into Lebanon in 2014, when Daesh briefly overran the border town of Arsal.

The fate of nine Lebanese soldiers kidnapped by ISIL in August 2014 during an attack on Lebanese security forces in the northeastern border town of Arsal remains unknown.

Last month, Hezbollah carried out its own campaign further south on the border area against what is now Al- Qaeda's former affiliate, after Al-Nusra broke off ties with the extremist group past year.

Hizbollah has provided critical military support to Syrian President Bashar Assad during Syria's six-year-long war.

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In a speech last week, Hizballah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the Iran-backed group had begun talks with Islamic State group on a truce.

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