BEIRUT, Aug 19 (KUNA) -- The Lebanese Army announced on Saturday its troops, involved in a mop-up operation against militants of the so-called Islamic State (IS) on eastern borders, demolished 11 positions and liberated 30 square kilometers of territories stretching along the eastern heights that mark the border line with neighboring Syria.
Military spokesman Colonel Nazih Jraij, speaking at a news conference at the Defense Ministry headquarters, said large caches of arms and ammunition were seized an confiscated in the wide-scale military operation that kicked off at dawn today.
The IS defenses are crumbling as many IS fighters are fleeing the battleground, he said, adding that the troops have taken control of some 30 sq km of lands.
At least 10 army troops were wounded and 20 IS gunmen were killed in the ongoing operation, he said, also noting that the regulars faced some difficulties with mines planted by the warriors.
"The terrorists are now weaker and the army has carried out the combat plan to the letter and succeeded in reaching Al-Adam mountain top, some 1,564 meters above sea level, which is a vintage point, thus we have achieved our goals in the first days of the operation," the colonel said.
The army launched "fajr al-joroud" (dawn of the barrens) to liberate 120 sq km of lands under control of some 600 IS fighters.
The rugged battleground stretches east of the towns of Ras Baalbek and Al-Qaa, located in the vast Bekaa valley and very close to the borderline with neighboring Syria. Simultaneously, Syrian government troops backed by Hezbollah gunmen were engaged in an offensive on the IS militants on eastern slopes of the frontier region, though the Lebanese Army declared it was not coordinating the military operation with Damascus or Hezbollah. Nevertheless, the "Daesh" gunmen appeared to have effectively become target of a multi-pronged pincer offensive.
The Lebanese Army has prepared for the current military operation by targeting "terrorists'" sites on strongholds located on the borders with Syria early August.
Earlier today, Lebanese Army General Ali Kanso affirmed in a press conference that the army was not coordinating with Hezbollah or the Syrian army in the operation.
The current military offensive is the last stage of the operation launched by Lebanon to end the control of IS on the eastern mountainous area separating Lebanon and Syria.
IS had kidnapped nine Lebanese soldiers since 2014 and their fate is still unknown.