Hezbollah leader defends evacuation of IS fighters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcoming UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem

The U.S. -led coalition carried out airstrikes Wednesday to block Islamic State (IS) fighters evacuated from Lebanon from reaching eastern Syria, local media reported.

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 attacks "cratered" a road and destroyed a small bridge in eastern Syria, spokesman Col Ryan Dillon said.

The ISIS militants were allowed to evacuate the area in buses following a Hezbollah-negotiated deal that allows them to go to ISIS-held territory near the Iraqi border.

Officials said there could be a silver lining for the coalition: While the IS militants had been holed up in a mountainous region of the Lebanon-Syria border where they were hard to target, the evacuation deal means they will relocate to desert areas where coalition forces can strike them more easily.

Lebanon has defended its stance of not totally crushing IS saying that the evacuation of IS militants from the area helped in revealing the fate of nine soldiers that the extremists kidnapped in 2014.

Since then the army has found 10 bodies in the area. "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. US 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.

"We transported those defeated militants from one front we fight in to another front we also fight in", he said.

The transfer under Syrian military escort was agreed under a ceasefire deal.

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

State news agency SANA said 10 people were killed and 28 wounded when the vehicles they were traveling in drove over mines.

Islamic State has lost swathes of territory since 2015 in both Syria and Iraq, including the Iraqi city of Mosul.

He said Iraq was battling the fighters, not sending them to Syria.

The end game is "to make it tougher for the Coalition to capture Deir al-Zor province from ISIL, by relocating their fighters there" the defence expert said. The YPG is the most powerful component of the SDF, and the female unit has played a leading frontline role on the battlefield during the bloody Raqqa campaign. It ended ISIS's presence on the Lebanese border with Syria where the military had been battling ISIS jihadis for years.

And by mentioning Russian Federation by name, the Trump administration is telling Moscow and Damascus "to stop the charade that Mr Assad cares about beating ISIL in eastern Syria", said Mr Heras.

The Kurdistan Region Security Council also expressed their "concerns about this action and consider it suspicious" in a statement on Tuesday night.

The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and the Syrian army had also announced a ceasefire in their offensive against Daesh on the Syrian side, namely the west mountainous region of Qalamoun.

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