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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

American Forces Press Service

Syrian Regime Forces Pass Stranded ISIS Convoy

From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release

SOUTHWEST ASIA, Sept. 8, 2017 – At approximately 7 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time today, the front line of Syrian pro-regime forces advanced past the convoy carrying Islamic State of Iraq and Syria terrorists and noncombatants in the eastern Syrian desert.

The pro-regime forces were mounting an assault on Dayr Az Zawr, an ISIS-controlled city in eastern Syria. Eleven buses from the original convoy of 17 remain in the desert after several vehicles returned to ISIS-held territory when coalition strikes blocked the highway on Aug. 29.

The convoy was attempting to reach ISIS-held territory near the Iraqi border as part of an agreement with the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Syrian regime. Media reports indicated that about 670 ISIS terrorists and their families, surrounded by Lebanese and Syrian pro-regime forces, attempted to secure their safe passage across Syria by offering to trade the bodies of nine Lebanese soldiers captured in 2014. The coalition was not party to the deal, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said.

"ISIS is a global threat; relocating terrorists from one place to another for someone else to deal with is not a lasting solution," the officials said.

To avoid conflicting efforts to defeat ISIS, coalition surveillance aircraft departed the adjacent airspace at the request of Russian officials during their assault on Dayr Az Zawr, officials said.

Coalition Supports Partners

The coalition will continue to employ available assets to support Syrian Democratic Forces and Iraqi partners in the mission to defeat ISIS, OIR officials said.

"From the start of this situation on Aug. 29, we have placed responsibility for the buses and passengers on the Syrian regime, who in conjunction with Lebanese Hezbollah brokered a deal with ISIS to move its terrorists into Iraq," said Army Brig. Gen. Jon Braga, director of operations for the coalition.

"The regime's advance past the convoy underlines continued Syrian responsibility for the buses and terrorists. As always, we will do our utmost to ensure that the ISIS terrorists do not move toward the border of our Iraqi partners," Braga added.

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