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Lebanese troops seize area near restive border town by Syria to try to cut off militant access

  • A relative of a missing Lebanese soldier who was kidnapped by Islamic State militants covers her head with the Lebanese army flag as she sits on the ground street during a demonstration to demand action to secure the captives' release, in front the Lebanese government building, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Lebanon's government is forming a crisis committee to handle the case of some two dozen members of the security forces held captive by Syrian militants amid escalating criticism over its response to the hostage affair. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    A relative of a missing Lebanese soldier who was kidnapped by Islamic State militants covers her head with the Lebanese army flag as she sits on the ground street during a demonstration to demand action to secure the captives' release, in front the Lebanese government building, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Lebanon's government is forming a crisis committee to handle the case of some two dozen members of the security forces held captive by Syrian militants amid escalating criticism over its response to the hostage affair. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

  • A relative of a missing Lebanese soldier who was kidnapped by Islamic State militants holds an Arabic placard that reads: "Shame on a government and nation that abandons its children," during a demonstration to demand action to secure the captives' release, in front the Lebanese government building, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday Sept. 4, 2014. Lebanon's government is forming a crisis committee to handle the case of some two dozen members of the security forces held captive by Syrian militants amid escalating criticism over its response to the hostage affair. Militants, including from the Islamic State extremist group, seized around 30 soldiers and policemen after overrunning a Lebanese border town in early August. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

    A relative of a missing Lebanese soldier who was kidnapped by Islamic State militants holds an Arabic placard that reads: "Shame on a government and nation that abandons its children," during a demonstration to demand action to secure the captives' release, in front the Lebanese government building, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday Sept. 4, 2014. Lebanon's government is forming a crisis committee to handle the case of some two dozen members of the security forces held captive by Syrian militants amid escalating criticism over its response to the hostage affair. Militants, including from the Islamic State extremist group, seized around 30 soldiers and policemen after overrunning a Lebanese border town in early August. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  (The Associated Press)

A senior military official and state media say that Lebanese troops are advancing near Syria, almost separating a border town from rebel-held areas in nearby fields.

The military official and the National News Agency said Tuesday that troops captured a post they lost when Islamic extremists overran the town of Arsal last month, killing and capturing a number of soldiers and police officers.

The military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said "90 percent" of the area between the town of Arsal and its rebel-held outskirts that stretch to Syria are now held by troops.

The rebels' incursion into Arsal in August was the most serious spillover yet of Syria's conflict into the neighboring country.