31 August, 2017
Hundreds of so-called Islamic State (ISIS) fighters and their families were bused from a pocket of territory on the Lebanese-Syrian border into militant-held eastern Syria on Monday, Reuters reported.
Coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon told The Associated Press the coalition has already struck a small bridge and punched a crater in a road to keep them from moving further east toward the border with Iraq.
The US-led coalition bombed the route of a convoy of Isis fighters travelling across Syria yesterday after a controversial deal that allowed them to escape a siege.
A senior Lebanese military official said a number of militants were also leaving from the Lebanese side of the border, to be transferred with the Syrian convoy.
IS agreed to evacuate territory, for the first time, from a district on the Syria-Lebanon border after striking a deal with the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Syrian regime.
Brett McGurk, the US Special Presidential Envoy to the global coalition to defeat ISIS, who just returned from a two-week jaunt across the Middle East including Iraq, the Kurdistan Region, and Syria, offered the US stance.
The Lebanese Army, with help from Hezbollah and the Syrian Army, helped move 675 Islamic State fighters and their relatives in buses and ambulances.
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.More news: Iraqi military launches offensive against ISIS stronghold
In 2014, ISIS and al-Qaeda militants overran the Lebanese border town of Arsal, kidnapping 30 Lebanese soldiers and sending shockwaves through the country.
The Lebanese army says it has captured most of a mountainous area on the border with Syria during an operation aimed at purging the region of Daesh terrorists. USA officials said Lebanon's military, which enjoys broad confidence from the public, was the only institution stable and credible enough to hold together the country's delicate political situation.
General Joseph Aoun, the commander of the Lebanese army, gave a speech following the president's and said the decision to negotiate with ISIL was made to preserve the lives of Lebanese civilians and soldiers.
The remains of several people have been uncovered in the border area, and DNA tests are underway to determine whether they belong to the missing soldiers. "But we do not expect it to last long, and according to our plans the battle will not take longer than two months from now", Ahmed said.
"We have long expressed our concerns about Hezbollah's military operations in Lebanon, which violate UN Security Council Resolution 1701 by defying the worldwide community's call to disarm", they added.
In a separate incident, mines laid by the extremists killed at least nine people and wounded dozens who were fleeing IS-held areas in Syria's eastern Deir el-Zour province, according to an opposition monitoring group and state media. "We came and took responsibility by going to negotiations", he said.
In the Syrian capital Damascus, President Bashar Assad received Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari who is on a visit to Syria.