Syria's Assad gives Eid prayers near seized Islamic State pocket
02 September, 2017, 00:47 | Author: Brenda Erickson
Still, the convoy of the IS militants hasn't reached their destination after the US coalition struck the road leading to the city of Bukamal in the countryside of Deir al-Zour to prevent the convoy from arriving.
"When I walked into this conference about an hour ago, the buses were on the move".
Coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said the USA and its allies continue to monitor the buses.
Earlier in the day, ISIS handed over to Hezbollah the body of a recently captured Iranian Revolutionary Guard member as part of the deal. The hand-over was reported by the Hezbollah-run Al-Manar TV.
The president took part in the prayers held in a mosque in the town of Qara in the western Qalamoun region some 120 km northwest of Damascus, state news agency SANA said. After they were blocked once again, Hezbollah demanded that they turn over the body of one Iranian fighter whom they had killed in 2014.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Thursday he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in person and asked for his help in securing the deal that would help clear the Lebanon-Syria border area.
The families had left Syria's border with Lebanon on Monday - and were intercepted near Humeima in eastern Syria.
"The Syrian government has put up with the embarrassment for the sake of Lebanon", he said.
Qara is only a few miles from the pale, dry mountains delineating the frontier with Lebanon, straddling which Islamic State and other militant groups held territory until August.
Airstrikes crater the road and destroy a bridge - as well as targeting an I.S. party that had been on route to meet them.
"And we'll continue to do that", U.S. Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of U.S. -led forces fighting Islamic State said during Pentagon briefing. The US-led coalition opposed the controversial decision to move experienced combatants to ISIS stronghold, instead turning the convoy back to Syrian government held territory.
Dillon said the coalition continued to monitor the buses. Syrian government forces control part of the provincial capital of the same name and its airport, but have been besieged by IS for years.
Russia, which is providing air support to Assad's forces, said capturing the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province is the current military priority.
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