Military Wiki
Battle of Arsal
Part of The Syrian Civil War spillover in Lebanon and the Qalamoun offensive (June–August 2014)
Date2–7 August 2014
(5 days)
LocationArsal, Lebanon
Result Lebanese Armed forces victory

al-Nusra Front

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Lebanon Lebanon

Syria Syrian Arab Republic

Commanders and leaders

Abu Hasan al-Homsi[1]

Abu Ahmed Jumaa (POW)[2]
General Jean Kahwaji
Brig. General Chamel Roukoz
Units involved
Unknown Lebanese Rangers Regiment
8th Infantry Brigade (Lebanon)
Lebanese Air Force
700 total militants[3] Unknown
Casualties and losses
60 killed[4] 20 soldiers killed,[4][5] 85 wounded[6] and 24 captured (14 released, 4 executed)[7][8][9]
20 policemen captured (6 released)[5][7][10][11]
42[12]–50[6] civilians killed

On 2 August 2014, after Lebanese security forces arrested an al-Nusra Front commander, fighters from the al-Nusra Front and ISIL surrounded Lebanese Army checkpoints in the region before attacking them and storming Arsal's police station.[13] The rebels then proceeded to take control of the town.[14] 16 policemen were taken hostage,[15] as well as two soldiers who were freed by the military later in the day.[13] The fighting continued into the next day and left 30 militants,[16] 10 soldiers and two civilians dead. 25 soldiers were wounded and 13 were missing and presumed captured.[17] Two of the missing soldiers were rescued the same day.[18]

On 4 August, the death toll had risen to 17 soldiers,[19] 50 civilians and 50 militants. 86 soldiers had been wounded and the number of missing had reached 22,[6] while 135 civilians and 15 militants were wounded.[20] Two of the dead civilians were infant Syrian refugees.[21] The military had advanced and captured[6] the technical institute building, which was seized by the militants the previous day,[18] as the town came under heavy shell fire from multiple directions. [22] In the evening, the Army also managed to capture Ras al-Serj hill.[10]

On 5 August, the military was attempting to capture two government buildings, while three soldiers and three policemen were released by the militants.[10] During the day's fighting, the ISIL commander for the Arsal area was reportedly killed,[1] while al-Nusra forces retreated from the town.[23] In the evening, a 24-hour cease-fire started.[14]

On 6 August, another three soldiers were released, while 10 soldiers and 17 policemen remained as captives.[24]

By 7 August, a fragile truce was established as ISIL forces also retreated from the town and redeployed along the border with Syria.[2][12][25] Their hideouts there were subsequently bombed by the Syrian Air Force, resulting in dozens of wounded militants.[26] 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,[27] which was updated to 19 by 12 August. 60 militants were also confirmed dead,[4] as well as 42 civilians. The total number of civilians wounded was estimated at 400.[12]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "ISIS commander killed in Arsal clashes: report". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Lebanon: Islamist militants threaten to reinvade Ersal unless conditions are met". Al Akhbar English. 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  3. Hezbollah Prepares Major Offensive Against ISIL | Al Jazeera America
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Kahwagi: Army will do utmost to free hostages". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Captured soldiers: They will kill us, if Hezbollah remains in Syria
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Dziadosz, Alexander. "Lebanese army advances in border battle with Islamists". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Islamic State militants behead captive Lebanese soldier - video
  8. 2 freed (2 August),[1][dead link] 2 freed (3 August),[2] 3 freed (5 August),[3] 3 freed (6 August),[4] 4 freed (30 August),[5] total of 14 soldiers freed
  9. Militants announce killing of Lebanese soldier
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "Truce collapses, clashes renew in northeast Lebanon". The Daily Star. 2014-08-05. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  11. Militants free two ISF members captured in Arsal clashes
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Holmes, Oliver (2014-08-07). "Militants pull out of Lebanese border town with captives". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "8 Lebanon soldiers killed in Syria border clashes". Channel NewsAsia. 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2014-08-22. [dead link]
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Ceasefire agreed in Lebanese border town battle". The Star. 2014-08-06. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  15. "Jihadists Extend Control Into Lebanese City". New York Times. 3 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  16. "11 soldiers, 30 militants killed in east Lebanon". The Daily Star. 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  17. "Lebanon suffers heavy losses in clashes with jihadists near Syria". AFP. 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Lebanon army advances against militants, death toll rises". The Daily Star. 2014-08-04. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  19. "Thousands flee as Lebanon battles Syrian militants". 4 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  20. Dziadosz, Alexander (2014-08-03). "Lebanese army tries to expel Syria-linked militants from border town". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  21. "Residents flee Arsal amid heavy clashes". The Daily Star. 2014-08-03. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  22. "Border Fighting Intensifies Between ISIS and Lebanon". New York Times. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  23. "Deal reached: ISIS to leave Arsal, soldiers to be released". The Daily Star. 2014-08-06. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  24. "Sunni fighters, Lebanese army extend fragile cease-fire in border town". Al Jazeera America. 2014-08-06. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  25. "Refugee convoy leaving Arsal stopped at border". NOW. 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 
  26. "Efforts underway to free captured Lebanese soldiers". The Daily Star. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  27. "Lebanese Army enters Arsal in full force". The Daily Star. 9 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-22. 

External links

Coordinates: 34°10′46″N 36°25′15″E / 34.1794°N 36.4208°E / 34.1794; 36.4208

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