“The Army will not simply remain a deterrent Army, but will go [on the offensive] with a cutting sword,” Kahwagi told local daily As-Safir.

His remarks came a day after the Lebanese Army drove jihadis from two strategic hilltop positions along the northeastern frontier with Syria in a preemptive operation that left at least three militants dead and five soldiers lightly wounded.

Kahwagi traveled to Ras Baalbek on Friday along wih Defense Minister Samir Moqbel to meet with troops in an effort to boost morale.

Moqbel hailed troops for demonstrating a “high skill in combat in defeating the terrorists so quickly from two strategic hilltops in Ras Baalbek.”

He congratulated soldiers on “this great achievement … in the face of terrorism.”

Moqbel said Thursday’s operation also “proved, beyond any doubt, that the Army is professional and cohesive … and only lacks more qualitiative weapons and equipment, which we hope to receive soon.”

In the interview, Kahwagi stressed that the Lebanese Army will remain the sole guarantor of Lebanon’s stability.

“The Army will protect the country from any danger. Lebanon won’t be a supportive environment for terrorism,” he said.

“We will not let takfiri terrorists defeat us,” Kahwagi vowed, adding that the war against jihadis was open-ended.

The Lebanese Army’s primary mission has been defending Lebanon and its citizens against external aggression, maintaining internal stability and security and confronting threats against the country’s vital interests.