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Damascus Looks for Safe Passage for ISIS Buses to Deir Ezzor | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An ISIS fighter is seen in a bus as he departs from the Lebanon-Syria border zone in Qalamoun, Syria August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

Beirut- Buses carrying hundreds of ISIS militants and their families were still waiting at the Syrian regime-controlled areas along the administrative border with Homs and Deir Ezzor, awaiting a safe passage to reach the city of Boukamel near the Iraqi border.

On Wednesday, US-led Coalition warplanes pounded the roads, which the ISIS buses were expected to take from the Lebanese border to reach their targeted destination in Deir Ezzor.

Sources on Thursday announced that the regime was currently waiting for the approval of Iraq to allow the buses reach Boukamel.

However, a commander in the pro-Syrian government military alliance said the convoy had headed north towards the town of Sukhna after being halted in the desert and would try to reach Deir Ezzor province, close to the border with Iraq.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the ISIS buses, which had left the Qalamoun Jurud at the Syrian-Lebanese border on Monday night “were still stopped at the administrative border between Homs and Deir Ezzor in the Hmimeh area which is controlled by regime forces, waiting for securing a new safe passage to the areas controlled by ISIS.”

Reliable sources told the Observatory: “The convoy of buses is waiting for the approval of the Iraqi side to move through areas controlled by the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces to ISIS-controlled areas.”
Buses carrying ISIS militants started leaving the western Jurud of Qalamoun in Syria Monday towards Boukamal in the countryside of eastern Deir Ezzor near the Iraqi border as part of a ceasefire agreement that involves Hezbollah and the Syrian regime reached earlier with ISIS to end the group’s presence in the area.

While the Syrian part of the deal was still on hold Thursday, the media arm of Lebanon’s Hezbollah said the group has received the body of Iranian Revolutionary Guard member Mohsen Haji, who was recently captured and killed by ISIS.

Several Lebanese are opposed to the Hezbollah deal reached lately with ISIS as it bypassed the Lebanese Army’s victory against the terrorist group.

Lokman Slim, a political activist and co-director at UMAM Documentation & Research told Asharq Al-Awsat that the swap deal that occurred at the eastern Jurud area had created a shock among the Lebanese public opinion.