ISIS leaves Lebanon-Syria border

ISIS leaves Lebanon-Syria border

A coalition spokesman, Colonel Ryan Dillon, threatened Wednesday that a convoy of buses and ambulances carrying hundreds of ISIS fighters and their families was a legitimate target for USA forces.

Buses carrying hundreds of Daesh militants and their families arrived in eastern Syria on Tuesday following a negotiated evacuation from the Lebanon-Syria border, where the USA -backed Lebanese army deployed for the first time in years.

About 308 ISIL fighters left the border area on Monday under a ceasefire deal, the terms of which included ISIL identifying where the group had buried the soldiers' bodies.

Coalition aircraft struck a small bridge and cratered a road to hinder the convoy's progress.

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.

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The ceasefire halted separate, dual assaults against ISIS waged by the Lebanese army on its side of the border and Hezbollah from the Syrian side.

Under the evacuation deal, several hundred IS militants and their families on both sides of the border are set to leave by bus for Deir az-Zor in eastern Syria, the country's only province still under IS control. Lebanese officials say they are nearly sure they are.

Earlier, Lebanon's President Michel Aoun hailed a "victory over terrorism".

ISIS agreed to a ceasefire on two fronts on the Lebanon-Syria border region with the Lebanese army on one front and Hezbollah and the Syrian army on the other, ending a week-long confrontation.

"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. Dillon also told the AP the USA military had already struck a bridge to delay the convoy.

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"They know that Iraqis destroyed their second biggest city [Mosul] so that Daesh fighters would not escape and Iraq's neighbours would not be harmed".

"Bringing those forces from Lebanon to eastern Syria and the Iraqi border is suspicious".

Major General Abbas Ibrahim, Lebanon's chief negotiator and intelligence chief, said Monday that his government's decision to allow ISIS militants and their families to flee "is permissible because Lebanon adheres to the philosophy of a state that does not exact revenge", but the decision has been met with controversy. "Either to go on with the battle and not know the fate of the soldiers or give in and know the fate of the soldiers", Aoun said. "We do not send them to Syria", he said.

Last month, President Donald Trump stood alongside Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and praised Lebanon for being on the "front lines in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah". "Their souls are my responsibility", he told reporters. Iran has been one of Assad's main backers since Syria's conflict began in March 2011.

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