BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:00 P.M.) – A large number of rebel fighters have defected from their factions to the Islamic State (ISIL) in east Lebanon, Hezbollah media relations reported on Monday.

According to the Lebanese group’s official media wing, the rebel defections involved at least 30 fighters and one commander that was loyal to Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham.

Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham is considered one of the largest rebel factions in Syria and arguably the most powerful group currently fighting the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) across the country.

With the consolidation of militant groups in eastern Lebanon, the battle for ‘Arsal will likely intensify as the Islamic State grows stronger due to the defections.

 

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