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U.S. targets Islamic State fighters leaving Lebanon after cease-fire

U.S. targets Islamic State fighters leaving Lebanon after cease-fire

Several critics have responded to the official's tweets, noting that US-backed Syrian fighters gave IS terrorists a safe passage out of the city of Manbij previous year.

The U.S. -led coalition and Iraq criticized the deal.

"We are not party to any agreements that were made by the Lebanese Hezbollah and ISIS or the (Syrian) regime", Dillon told AP.

It is not clear how the standoff will be resolved.

The strikes follow an evacuation deal struck between Hizballah and the militants, for IS fighters to leave an enclave on the Syria-Lebanon border to the militants' stronghold in Deir az-Zor.

"If we are able to strike them without harming civilians, then we will do so", Dillon said.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said moving hundreds of fighters towards the Iraqi border was "unacceptable" and "an insult to the Iraqi people", while USA officials said ISIL fighters should be killed on the battlefield.

"We are not seeking to contain the terrorists, but to eliminate them", Abadi said.

Hezbollah, a Shiite movement founded in the 1980s to fight the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, joined the war in Syria early on to shore up its ally, President Bashar al-Assad, and retain a supply line that runs from Iran to Lebanon.

But U.S. -led coalition forces blocked the convoy from moving into Islamic State-held territory on Wednesday by striking the road ahead and some of their comrades travelling to meet them.

Reuters quoted coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon as saying that the air raids took place on Wednesday east of the Humeima district, on the border between Syria's Homs and Dayr al-Zawr provinces.

Those captives included nine Lebanese soldiers kidnapped by militants in 2014.

Hezbollah is a significant player in Lebanon with government ministers and lawmakers, while the role of its fighters also has been growing in Syria.

The deal was struck between Hizbollah, the Syrian government and the Lebanese government after eight days of fighting that left ISIL militants trapped between Hizbollah and the Syrian government and the Lebanese army.

"I am extremely concerned that in its conduct of hostilities, the attacking forces may be failing to abide by the global humanitarian law principles of precautions, distinction, and proportionality", High Commissioner Zeid said.

Isis has lost swathes of territory since 2015 in both Syria and Iraq, including the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was eventually wrestled from the terrorists in July this year.

The army, which was fighting on the Lebanese side of the eastern border, said it didn't coordinate with Hezbollah, which was fighting on the Syrian side in West Qalamoun. Lebanon maintains it's an independent operation.

Since the uprising in Syria, thousands of Hezbollah militiamen entered Syrian territory to back the Syrian Regime and have accused the various rebel groups of being "Wahabis" and "Takfiris". President Donald Trump has placed a particular emphasis on killing ISIS members while faulting former President Barack Obama for being too willing to let the militants regroup elsewhere.

"The most likely front they will go to is Deir Ezzor, where they are most needed to fight the Syrian government and its allies".

Lebanon's military has defended the agreement.

"I am deeply disturbed by reports coming out of Raqqa of the horrendous situation faced by civilians caught up in the offensive to retake the city from ISIS", said Dieng in a statement released by the Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General.

"I had one of two choices". DNA tests confirmed that six of those belonged to Lebanese soldiers, the sources and local media reported on Wednesday.



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