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‘Hezbollah,’ Syrian Regime Looking for Alternate Routes for ISIS Convoys | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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One of the buses in the ISIS convoy escorting them away from the Lebanese-Syrian border. (Reuters)

Beirut – “Hezbollah” and the Syrian regime forces were looking on Saturday for a new passage for ISIS buses, which had left the Qalamoun outskirts at the Syrian-Lebanese border on Monday night, after US-led coalition warplanes pounded their route to Deir al-Zour.

The convoy is still stopped in the Syrian desert after it stopped heading towards Deir al-Zour.

A commander in the pro-Syrian regime military alliance said on Saturday that “Hezbollah” and the Syrian regime forces were finding an alternative way for the buses to reach ISIS-held territories.

“Work is under way to change the course of the convoy for a second time,” the commander said.

The convoy includes 17 buses carrying about 300 armed ISIS militants and more than 300 members of their families, who had accepted to leave the Lebanese-Syrian border under a deal reached between Lebanon’s “Hezbollah” and ISIS to transfer militants from east Lebanon and Qalamoun in west Syria to the Iraqi border.

Other reporters said Saturday that dozens of ISIS militants were able to reach the province of Deir al-Zour using small cars.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights quoted informed sources as saying that “dozens of ISIS militants had already left the location where the convoy of buses is stationed at al-Sukhnah desert.”

For his part, Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting ISIS told Reuters on Saturday that the US military intends to prevent the convoy from reaching ISIS territory.

“It has not managed to link up with any other ISIS elements in eastern Syria,” said Dillon.

The spokesperson added that the Coalition is “continuing to monitor the convoy and will continue to disrupt its movement east to link up with any other ISIS element and we will continue to strike any other ISIS elements that try to move toward it.”

Meanwhile, “Hezbollah” said in a statement issued Saturday that the US warplanes were preventing the convoy from transfering the ISIS militants and their families to their destination.

It said families on board the buses, which include pregnant women, are at risk of dying because US warplanes are preventing the supply of food and water.