Buses evacuate Islamic State fighters from key border region

Randolph Lopez
August 31, 2017

Almost two dozen buses and 11 ambulances carried the militants and their families Monday from the area straddling the Syria-Lebanon border toward the Islamic State-held town of Boukamal in eastern Syria.

USA airstrikes blocked the advance of an Islamic State convoy carrying militants toward Iraq on Wednesday, derailing a Hezbollah-negotiated deal that removed the extremists from the Lebanon-Syria border, where they have been for years.

ISIS had negotiated a ceasefire with Hezbollah, the Lebanese government and the Russian-backed Assad regime that included a deal to evacuate ISIS militants and their families from an enclave on the Lebanese border and move them - through Assad regime territory - to another ISIS-held area on the Iraqi border.

Iraqi social media users expressed outrage at the evacuation deal, which came a week into a Lebanese army offensive against ISIL and a joint Syrian army-Hezbollah operation against the group on Syrian territory.

Hezbollah fought a week-long offensive against IS on the Syrian side of the Lebanese border, coinciding with a simultaneous assault by Lebanese troops on their side of the frontier.

We review the key events in Syria, including ISIS militants arriving in eastern Syria after withdrawal from Lebanon's border, dozens killed in clashes between ISIS and pro-government forces in Raqqa province and reports of USA troops under fire in northern Syria. Although Hezbollah members are believed to be the ones escorting the convoy, the Syrian government's involvement creates further risk for the US if the coalition were to hit it.

It ended ISIS's presence on the Lebanese border with Syria where the military had been battling ISIS jihadis for years.

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He said Iraq was battling the fighters, not sending them to Syria.

It is cooperating with the USA -led coalition that has been conducting an airstrike campaign against the group since mid-2014.

Central Command said that the U.S. had bombed a bridge in Syria to block the convoy's route to Deir Ezzor.

Lebanon's security chief Abbas Ibrahim defended the ceasefire agreement on Monday saying security forces were not seeking revenge or bloodshed, but had set out to "liberate" Lebanese soil from IS militants and reveal the fate of the kidnapped soldiers.

The withdrawal was part of an agreement brokered by Hezbollah, a militant group thought to be more powerful than Lebanon's own armed forces. It was not immediately clear if any belonged to the captured soldiers, however. Lebanese officials say they are nearly sure the remains are of the soldiers.

Months before the deal, the Syrian regime said both Damascus and Moscow's air forces were targeting ISIS in eastern Syria. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine people were killed and many others wounded in the Abu Khashab area on the northern edge of Deir el-Zour province, a main stronghold for IS.

"I had two choices: either I continue the battle and not know the soldiers' fate, or I submit to the situation and find out".

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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