IS agrees to evacuate territory on Syria-Lebanon border

The Islamic State (IS) has agreed to evacuate territory for the first time from a district on the Syria-Lebanon border.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Islamic State (IS) has agreed to evacuate territory, for the first time, from a district on the Syria-Lebanon border, army officials said on Monday.

The Syrian army and Hezbollah, a Shia Lebanese group, have prepared to transport IS militants from their region to an unspecified area in eastern Syria.

The move comes after a week-long offensive against the extremist group carried out conjointly by the Syrian army and Hezbollah.

The agreement is the first time IS has publicly arranged to relinquish territory under force, Reuters reported.

The militant group agreed to the cease-fire after losing large swaths of its mountainous region along the Syria-Lebanon border.

Hezbollah has been a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout the country’s six-year civil war.

The Lebanese army, who also agreed to evacuate militants on its border, said its campaign against IS did not involve coordination with the Shia group or Syrian army.

According to a Lebanese security source, the extremists will leave their positions and move to a point on the Syrian side of the border where they will be transported to Albukamal in eastern Syria.

Witnesses in Syria close to where the militants were boarding buses said black smoke was visible from the hills where IS reportedly burned its machinery and headquarters.

Since their emergence in Syria and Iraq in 2014, the jihadist group has been steadily losing ground in both countries.

In Iraq, security forces announced this week the liberation of Tal Afar, one of the last remaining areas under the group’s control.

Meanwhile, in Syria, a Kurdish-led campaign to defeat the militants in their de facto capital of Raqqa is ongoing, with over half of the city already liberated.


Editing by G.H. Renaud