Published: Thu, August 31, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

USA coalition, Iraq slam evacuation agreement for IS fighters

USA coalition, Iraq slam evacuation agreement for IS fighters

US -led aistrikes block Islamic State fighters evacuated from Lebanon from reaching eastern Syria.

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. Their convoy left Monday and.

The coalition said it did not strike the Daesh convoy but severely damaged the road it was using while also confirming that it hit "individual vehicles and fighters" that had been identified as Daesh.

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.

The Lebanese government took pains to play down the cooperation of Hezbollah fighters with the Syrian Army on the Syrian side of the border, and of those two forces with its own army on the Lebanese side.

On August 28th hundreds of ISIS fighters were allowed to board buses in the Qalamoun mountains on the border of Lebanon and Syria and drive to eastern Syria near Deir ez-Zor.

The coalition "will not rule out strikes against IS fighters being moved", Dillon said, adding, "we are not party to any agreements that were made by the Lebanese Hezbollah and ISIS or the (Syrian) regime".

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After a meeting with President Michel Aoun, the army commander congratulated the military on "its victory against terrorism" and offered his condolences to the families of fallen soldiers. Dillon also told the AP the US military had already struck a bridge to delay the convoy.

After a weeklong offensive by the Lebanese army, the Syrian government and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, more than 300 ISIS fighters and about as many of their relatives withdrew from their enclave on the Syria-Lebanon border.

But many in Lebanon were opposed to the deal, which they said allowed the killers of Lebanese soldiers to get off scot-free.

Abadi on Tuesday said: "Transporting this number of terrorists from long distance to eastern Syria adjacent to Iraqi borders is unacceptable".

He explained that by "taking the time up front to surround these locations, instead of simply shoving them from one to another" coalition forces are able to "carry out the annihilation campaign so we don't simply transplant this problem from one location to another". "Either to go on with the battle and not know the fate of the soldiers or succumb and know the fate of the soldiers", Aoun said. It ended ISIS's presence on the Lebanese border with Syria where the military had been battling ISIS jihadis for years.

"During our incursions, we try to open safe passages for them so they would not be a target of our attacks, but there are also many mines that led to the deaths of civilians", she said. Iran has been one of Assad's main backers since Syria's conflict began in March 2011.

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