Secretary-General of the Lebanese Hezbollah group Hassan Nasrallah pinpointed “a channel of negotiation” between his party and the so-called Islamic State (IS) on the latter pulling out from the eastern border areas.
In a televised speech Thursday evening, Nasrallah said fighting and negotiation are now the two approaches to dealing with the IS militants after tightening the noose on them from the Lebanese and Syrian sides.
The aim of negotiation is to force IS to withdraw from the border areas and determine the fate of the Lebanese soldiers who were kidnapped by the militants in Arsal battles three years ago, he said.
Nasrallah ruled out the possibility of a ceasefire deal with the IS group before they agree to account for the missing soldiers and pull out from the border areas.
Hezbollah engaged in the talks with the IS without mandate from, or coordination with the Lebanese government but any deal with the group must be approved by Syria, he added.
The Lebanese army, backed by Hezbollah, have been in battles with the IS since Saturday in the eastern mountainous regions of Jroud Arsal, Ras Baalbek and Qaa near the borders with Syria.
The military operation, codenamed Fajr Al-Jroud, led to restoration of 100 sq. km. from the 120 sq. km. area previously controlled by IS.