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31 August 2017, 01:11 | Katrina Lee
US-backed commander in Syria says Raqqa battle will end in 2 months
Islamic State group fighters and their families began evacuating a Syrian-Lebanese border region on Monday, under an unprecedented deal to end three years of militant presence there, Syrian state television and Hizballah said.
But anger over the transfer deal prompted the US-led coalition to launch airstrikes on Wednesday to block the convoy. "Their claim of fighting terrorism rings hollow when they allow known terrorists to transit territory under their control".
"The coalition is not a party to the agreement between Lebanese Hezbollah and ISIS".
According to The Telegraph report, Daesh terrorists are pretending to be US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces' fighters in Raqqa to capture civilians amid the operation to free the city. "In accordance with the law of armed conflict. we will strike them if we are able to do so".
His comments came hours after another US official blasted the deal that led to the evacuation of hundreds of Islamic State fighters and civilians, saying the extremists should be killed on the battlefield.
The ISIS militants ultimately relented Sunday and were forced into a deal with Lebanon, Syria and Hezbollah that allowed them passage out of Lebanon and across Syria to the eastern city of Abu Kamal.
Brett McGurk, the US Special Presidential Envoy to the worldwide 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.
"Our coalition will help ensure that these terrorists can never enter Iraq or escape from what remains of their dwindling "caliphate," McGurk added".
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During the one-month long fight against Takfiri terrorists, the Lebanese people in particular those in the borders showed their steadfastness in fighting terrorists.
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.
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.
Hezbollah is a significant player in Lebanon with government ministers and lawmakers, while the role of its fighters also has been growing in Syria.
"We've seen ISIS use protective sites like hospitals and mosques, seen them drive in ambulances", Colonel Ryan said.
"I had one of two choices".
State news agency SANA said 10 people were killed and 28 wounded when the vehicles they were traveling in drove over mines.
Lebanon's Hezbollah has been a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout Syria's six-year war.
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