"The military operation in Ras Baalbek is aimed at preventing terror groups in the mountains from reaching some villages and to some military positions. There was a possibility that terrorists reach some villages and threat them, especially that some of the villages are Christian," Walid Sukkariya, a member of Lebanon's parliament and former general of the Lebanese army told Sputnik.
According to Sukkariya, terrorists have attacked the positions of Lebanese soldiers in the area before, killing several servicemen.
"So, this is a sort of relocating for the Lebanese army for a better protection of the villages and their inhabitants, and to prevent terrorists from approaching the villages," Sukkariya explained.
"If they got out of Iraq, they will be located in places somewhere near Syria and they won't remain quiet and wait till they are attacked and killed. They will seek to expand their positions and head to vital areas so that they become stronger and have more supplies. Among the places ISIL militants might reach are Al-Qalamoun, Homs, Al-Qusayr and mountains in Lebanon, and they might, perhaps, reach the north of Lebanon," Sukkariya told Sputnik.
The member of Lebanon's parliament stressed that if Islamic State militants start to spread in Lebanon, they will strive to create an "emirate", threatening the Lebanese people.
Meanwhile another member of the country's parliament, Ghazi al-Zaiter, stressed that it is important for the Lebanese army to protect local citizens from terror groups, as villagers themselves could help in the fight against radicals such as ISIL.
"The villagers, that are being threatened and attacked, also help/support the Lebanese army to stand against terrorists," al-Zaiter, who is Lebanon's former minister of defense, explained in an interview with Sputnik.
Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a radical Sunni group that has ceased vast areas in Iraq and Syria. The extremists have declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on the territories under their control in both countries, forcing thousands of people, particularly religious minorities, to flee.
Government forces of both Syria and Iraq, a US-led coalition, as well as the Peshmerga (Kurdish militia) have all been battling against IS extremists. As a result of these combat operations, thousands of civilians have been killed.