Lebanon, Syria declare ceasefires in fight against ISIL

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A cease-fire was declared on two fronts along along the Lebanese-Syrian border - the Islamic State against the Lebanese Army and the joint Syrian Army and Hezbollah forces, the Hezbollah-controlled TV channel Al Manar said Sunday.

The security source said on Sunday that Hezbollah entered an area in western Qalamoun to confirm if the Lebanese soldiers were buried there.

In a short military statement, the army said the approval comes after the defeat of IS in Qalamoun, where the terror-designated group was besieged by the army and Hezbollah fighters. The surrender of the remains of the fighters by the extremists took place at the border crossing of Mira.

In the days leading up to the fighting in the region, a disagreement had erupted between the Lebanese army and Hezbollah over the boundaries of Hezbollah's territory in the fight against ISIS.

It said the unilateral pause was "in the framework of a comprehensive agreement to end the battle in west Qalamun against Daesh (ISIS)".

Both offensives have advanced toward the border from opposite sides.

The Lebanese army command said the fourth phase of the offensive that began on Saturday should eventually evict all IS fighters from the border region.

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Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea hit back at Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Friday, stressing that there can not be official coordination "with a regime that is more brutal than the Islamic State group".

Ibrahim said he was part of the negotiations over the fate of the soldiers, but Hezbollah and Syria sorted out the larger deal.

Hizballah has played a key role in fighting Sunni militants along the border during Syria's six-year war and has sent thousands of fighters to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The 9 Lebanese soldiers have been missing since August 2014, when ISIS and then Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front briefly overran Arsal, a town on Lebanon's restive eastern border with Syria.

The United States has designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization and is an ally of Lebanon. The province is southeast of Raqqa, where the U.S-backed Syrian opposition forces are battling ISIS militants.

"We see no evidence of substantive cooperation (between the army and Hizballah)", the diplomat added.

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