USA airstrikes block evacuation of Islamic State militants

Syrian Children Fleeing Raqqa 'Tormented' By Years Under IS Control: Charity

USA -led warplanes on Wednesday blocked a convoy of Islamic State fighters and their families from reaching territory the group holds in east Syria and struck a group of their comrades travelling to meet them, a coalition spokesman said.

The U.S. -led coalition says it has struck an Islamic State convoy coming from militant-held territory in Syria to meet IS evacuees being transferred there under a controversial deal brokered by Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group.

The airstrikes hit the road leading from the Syrian town of Hmaymah to the IS-held town of Albukamal further east, the report cited the coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon as saying.

The Syrian army and the Lebanese Hezbollah group, which has been fighting alongside President Bashar Assad's forces in Syria since 2013, have been waging their own separate but simultaneous offensive to pressure the Islamic State on the Syrian side of the border.

Iraqis on Tuesday denounced a deal allowing Islamic State group fighters to evacuate a Syrian-Lebanese frontier region towards the Iraqi border.

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Prime minister Haider Al Abadi said the ISIL fighters had been given free passage to the eastern border with Iraq, making them a threat to Baghdad's security.

Any strike will be in accordance with "the law of armed conflict", Dillon said.

The military official said once the transfer is completed, the Lebanese army would take control of the evacuated areas.

On Wednesday morning, Lebanon's President Michel Aoun hailed the country's "victory over terrorism" and said its citizens could "be proud of their army".

Officials said there could be a silver lining for the coalition: While the IS militants had been holed up in a mountainous region of the Lebanon-Syria border where they were hard to target, the evacuation deal means they will relocate to desert areas where coalition forces can strike them more easily.

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Several critics have responded to the official's tweets, noting that US-backed Syrian fighters gave IS terrorists a safe passage out of the city of Manbij previous year.

A Lebanese Army soldier looks through binoculars in Ras Baalbek, Lebanon August 28, 2017.

"They know that Iraqis destroyed their second biggest city [Mosul] so that Daesh fighters would not escape and Iraq's neighbours would not be harmed".

"We have long expressed our concerns about Hezbollah's military operations in Lebanon, which violate UN Security Council Resolution 1701 by defying the worldwide community's call to disarm", they added.

Abadi on Tuesday said: "Transporting this number of terrorists from long distance to eastern Syria adjacent to Iraqi borders is unacceptable". "Either to go on with the battle and not know the fate of the soldiers or succumb and know the fate of the soldiers", Aoun said.

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The Lebanese army and Hezbollah declared a ceasefire in their battle against ISIS on Sunday. "Their souls are my responsibility", he told reporters. "We do not send them to Syria", he said.

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