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Arsal: The battle that begins a long war

The Arsal agreement reached between the Lebanese military and government parties and the militants indicates that the two parties are betting on different factors.
Damage is seen on a building and a mosque from the fighting between Lebanese army soldiers and Islamist militants, in the Sunni Muslim border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley August 7, 2014. Militant Islamists have mostly withdrawn from the Lebanese border town of Arsal, which they seized at the weekend, taking with them captive Lebanese soldiers, militant and security sources said on Thursday, as a truce to end the deadly battle appeared to hold. REUTERS/Ahmad Shalha (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL U
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A long chain of criticism delayed the settlement reached between the government, Lebanese military and Sunni fundamentalist gunmen to end the clashes in Arsal. Yet, ministerial and partisan figures directly engaged in the agreement confirmed to Al-Monitor that “the matter is not yet over, and that the truce declared on the night of Thursday, Aug. 7, marked no more than the conclusion of the first round of the war.”

As previously reported, the clashes began in this border region between Lebanon and Syria on Aug. 2. These clashes followed the Lebanese army’s detention of an individual wanted for his involvement with terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda. Afterward, fundamentalist militants from the Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat al-Nusra launched a string of attacks against Lebanese military outposts, killing more than 20 members of the Lebanese Armed Forces and capturing 42 Lebanese members of the security forces, 22 from the army and 20 from the Internal Security Forces.

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