U.S. disrupts evacuation of IS militants in Syria

The strikes were aimed at stopping an evacuation deal for Islamic State fighters to leave their enclave on the Lebanon-Syria border for areas they hold in eastern Syria, arranged by the Lebanese Hezbollah group and the Syrian army.

The US-led coalition has carried out an air strike to block ISIL fighters evacuated from Lebanon from reaching eastern Syria, its spokesman said on Wednesday.

Dillon criticized Moscow and Damascus for allowing the buses of militants to travel through territory they control.

Dillon said "we are not party to any agreements that were made by the Lebanese Hezbollah and ISIS or the (Syrian) regime".

"The fighting continued on both fronts, the land was crushed, the hills and highlands were seized and ISIS found itself on its last square and it collapsed and surrendered after a decisive battle", Nasrallah said. "In accordance with the law of armed conflict, the Coalition will take action against ISIS whenever and wherever we are able to".

A deal between Lebanon and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), brokered by the country's Shiite militant group Hezbollah, has provoked anger in Baghdad and among Iraqi Kurds after hundreds of jihadis were bussed to the Iraqi border.

IS' departure leaves the border between Syria and Lebanon free of extremists for the first time in years.

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"Our coalition will help ensure that these terrorists can never enter Iraq or escape from what remains of their dwindling "caliphate," McGurk added".

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.

The remains of several people have been uncovered in the border area where IS had presence and DNA tests are underway to identify whether they belong to the missing soldiers. The U.S. rejects the deal and has bombed the convoy's path, threatening further violence.

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.

"We've seen ISIS use protective sites like hospitals and mosques, seen them drive in ambulances", Colonel Ryan said.

Iraq, led by a Shia-majority govrnment, has been a key supporter of the battle to defeat ISIS in Syria, as well as in its own territory.

"I had one of two choices. Their souls are my responsibility", he said. 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. The Assad regime has faced accusations that it has allowed ISIS to prosper and grow in eastern Syria amid six years of civil war.

  • Megan Austin