On 2 August 2014, after Lebanese security forces arrested an Al-Nusra Front commander, terrorists of the Al-Nusra Front and ISIS surrounded Lebanese Army checkpoints in the region before attacking them and storming Arsal's police station. The rebels then proceeded to take control of the town. 16 policemen were taken hostage, as well as two soldiers who were freed by the military later in the day. The fighting continued into the next day and left 30 militants, 10 soldiers and two civilians dead. 25 soldiers were wounded and 13 were missing and presumed captured. Two of the missing soldiers were rescued the same day.
On 4 August, the death toll had risen to 17 soldiers, 50 civilians and 50 militants. 86 soldiers had been wounded and the number of missing had reached 22, while 135 civilians and 15 militants were wounded. Two of the dead civilians were infant Syrian refugees. The military had advanced and captured the technical institute building, which was seized by the militants the previous day, as the town came under heavy shell fire from multiple directions.  In the evening, the Army also managed to capture Ras al-Serj hill.
On 5 August, the military was attempting to capture two government buildings, while three soldiers and three policemen were released by the militants. During the day's fighting, the ISIS commander for the Arsal area was reportedly killed, while Al-Nusra forces retreated from the town. In the evening, a 24-hour cease-fire started.
On 6 August, another three soldiers were released, while 10 soldiers and 17 policemen remained as captives.
By 7 August, a fragile truce was established as ISIS forces also retreated from the town and redeployed along the border with Syria. Their hideouts there were subsequently bombed by the Syrian Air Force, resulting in dozens of wounded militants. Two days later, the Lebanese Army entered Arsal in full force and re-established control over checkpoints that the militants had previously seized, while another soldier died of his wounds, bringing the military death toll to 18, which was updated to 19 by 12 August. 120 militants were also dead, as well as 42 civilians. The total number of civilians wounded was estimated at 400.
References[edit | edit source]
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- Islamic State militants behead captive Lebanese soldier - video
- Qaeda affiliate executes Lebanese soldier: govt
- 2 freed (2 August), 2 freed (3 August), 3 freed (5 August), 3 freed (6 August), 4 freed & 1 killed (30 August), total of 14 soldiers freed
- Captured soldiers: They will kill us, if Hezbollah remains in Syria
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