In recent weeks the Qalamoun mountain range along the border between Syria and Lebanon has become a major focus for Islamist factions trying to weaken Hezbollah, who has been a major ally of the Syrian government in the ongoing civil war.
Today, Hezbollah’s media wing reported a failed ISIS attack against one of their bases in Qalamoun, saying with the backing of Syrian military helicopters they managed to destroy a pair of ISIS armored vehicles and kill an unknown number of fighters.
ISIS isn’t the only one pushing in Qalamoun, as al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra also launched attacks on Hezbollah sites there. They were somewhat more effective, though Hezbollah has since retaken much of the lost territory in a counteroffensive.
Earlier in the war, Qalamoun was a key arms smuggling route for rebels, though increasingly the Islamist factions are there simply to fight Hezbollah, and ideally to spread the civil war into neighboring Lebanon, where they’ve launched a handful of border raids recently.