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Jabhat al-Nusra and Hezbollah In First Confrontation

For the first time in the 23-month-old Syrian civil war, Jabhat al-Nusra and Hezbollah have been involved in direct confrontations, writes Jean Aziz.
Fighters from Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra watch snipers on the front line during a fight with Syria forces loyal to President Bashar al Assad in Aleppo December 24, 2012. Syria special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi discussed solving the country's conflict with President Bashar al-Assad on Monday, but the opposition expressed deepening frustration with the mission following what it called the latest massacre of civilians. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah (SYRIA - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) - RTR3BVVS
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While the Iraq-Syria border was witnessing the first armed confrontation pitting Sunni jihadists against Iraqi and Syrian soldiers, leaving scores of people dead, a wide stretch of border between Lebanon and Syria was the scene of direct and unprecedented contact between Shiite Hezbollah militants and Sunni jihadists belonging to Jabhat al-Nusra. This new and serious development is likely to have serious repercussions in the coming weeks. There are several theories about how this situation came to pass.

One week prior, amid sporadic clashes on both sides of the northeastern border of Lebanon and Syria, regular Syrian army forces had redeployed in al-Nabk, near ​​the Lebanese border. Official Lebanese sources confirmed the event. On first glance, the redeployment would appear to be unremarkable given the movement of Syrian army units since the beginning of the civil war almost two years ago, but upon closer inspection, the seriousness of the maneuver becomes apparent.

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