A Lebanese army vehicle drives past a cross set in Ras Baalbek, Monday, July 31, 2017. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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Far from apprehensive, Ras Baalbeck's residents seemed eager for the Lebanese Army's offensive against militants entrenched on the town's outskirts to begin, with locals telling The Daily Star Monday that if called on, they too would join the fight."We are used to this, we are not scared anymore and we know how to deal with Daesh [ISIS]".Standing outside of a local corner shop, his handgun barely concealed at his waist, he seemed casual, almost bored at the prospect of a fight. Nonetheless, locals anticipated the start of the battle and were making preparations.Rahhal said that the locals were "impatient" for the battle to begin, assuring The Daily Star that every single Ras Baalbeck resident had confidence in the Army and its capabilities.However, Rahhal pointed out that a battle is not inevitable, explaining that the possibility of reaching a deal is still on the table.Negotiations or not, the military is gearing up for a fight, making full use of the arms and the training offered to them by the international community, mainly the United States. Rahhal estimated that between 8,000 to 10,000 troops will be taking part in the battle.
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