The success of Hezbollah-led forces in a fight against al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front in and around the Lebanese border town of Arsal has led to a ceasefire deal, which will allow the evacuation of people into rebel-held areas.
Including the remaining Nusra fighters, some 8,000 people have already registered to be relocated deeper into Syria. This of course isn’t overwhelmingly al-Qaeda fighters, but includes their families, as well as civilians stuck in refugee camps by the fighting who see the evacuation as a way out.
Around 150 fighters, mostly al-Qaeda and its allies, were killed in the course of the Arsal fighting last week. Hezbollah and the Lebanese military have indicated that they’ll move on to other areas of the Bekka Valley, targeting ISIS territory.
Over the past year, Syrian government forces backed by Hezbollah have tried to get the rebels out of the hilly region along the Syria-Lebanon border, and these new pushes seem to be the end of that effort, pushing the rebels further away from the capital of Damascus, and ensuring government control over the region.