Lebanon’s Hezbollah said the U.S.-led Coalition jets were stopping any aid from reaching Islamic State (ISIS) militants and their families stuck in the desert.
A convoy of 17 buses carrying nearly 300 lightly armed ISIS militants and 300 civilians has been stuck in Syria’s eastern desert since Tuesday (August 29), with Coalition using airstrikes to stop it from entering ISIS territory.
Hezbollah said in a statement on Saturday (September 2) that the U.S.-led warplanes were still blocking the convoy of fighters and families.
There were old people, casualties and pregnant women in the buses stuck outside Syrian government control in the desert, Hezbollah added.
It also called on the international community to step in to prevent the Coalition jets coming to harm.
However, Coalition forces said in a statement on Friday that food and water have been provided to the convoy, stuck in the Syrian Desert between Humayma and As Sukhnah.
“The Coalition has communicated to the Russians, to deliver a message to the Syrian regime, that the Coalition will not condone ISIS fighters moving further east to the Iraqi border. The Coalition values human life and has offered suggestions on a course of action to save the women and children from any further suffering as a result of the Syrian regime’s agreement,” the statement read.
The Coalition further said it would continue take action against ISIS in any place they are able to without harming civilians and in accordance with the law of armed conflict.
A Hezbollah commander said the Syrian army and Hezbollah are seeking a new route for the convoy bound for the jihadists’ stronghold in eastern Syria.
The evacuation was sharply criticized by Iraq, which is also fighting ISIS and said it was “unacceptable” to ship jihadist fighters to Syrian territory near its borders.
ISIS has agreed to a ceasefire deal which took effect on Sunday (August 25) with the Lebanese army on one front and Hezbollah with the Syrian army on the other.
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