Syrian army launches operation to secure border with Lebanon
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The Syrian army has launched an operation to secure a key road that is used for supplying foreign-backed militants with weapons, Press TV reports. The army has deployed units along the road that spans Damascus to the Masnaa Border Crossing, which leads to the Lebanese capital of Beirut. The borderline becomes unclear along the spread-out rural areas, turning it into one of the main routes used by the militants to smuggle weapons into Syria. "This is a very important operation and by securing this part of the border, we ensure the security of this part of the Damascus countryside and consequently the capital," an army officer said. This is also part of an effort to control Syrian-Lebanese border and crossing points, he added. Setting ambushes and a frequent changing of positions are among the tactics used by the Syrian army to prevent militants and arms smugglers from infiltrating into the country. On Wednesday, Lebanese soldiers killed a member of al-Nusra Front and injured two others at a checkpoint in the border town of Arsal as the Takfiri militants attempted to cross into Lebanon from neighboring Syria. Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria. In a recent statement, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said the number of Syrian refugees, who have fled the country's 29-month-long conflict, has reached two million. The UN refugee agency also said some 4.2 million people have also been displaced inside Syria since the beginning of the conflict in the Arab country.