U.S. strikes ISIS militants heading toward evacuees

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

US -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.

Hundreds of so-called Islamic State (ISIS) fighters and their families were bused from a pocket of territory on the Lebanese-Syrian border into militant-held eastern Syria on Monday, Reuters reported.

Lebanese, Syrian and Hezbollah forces agreed ceasefires with IS militants near the town of Ras Baalbek last week, only days after launching simultaneous offensives on the jihadists' final foothold in the border area.

Earlier, the coalition bombed a bridge and the road in the convoy's path to prevent it from reaching the area held by IS (also known as ISIS/ISIL) in eastern Syria, Dillon told AP.

"Irreconcilable (IS) terrorists should be killed on the battlefield, not bused across Syria to the Iraqi border without Iraq's consent", according to a tweet from Brett McGurk, the top USA envoy for the anti-Islamic State coalition.

"If we do identify and find ISIS fighters who have weapons - and like I said, we can discriminate between civilians and ISIS fighters - we will strike when we can".

The coalition nevertheless said in a statement that it is not bound by the evacuation agreement.

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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".

Iraqis have denounced a Hezbollah- and Syria-backed deal allowing ISIL fighters to evacuate a Syrian-Lebanese frontier region towards the Iraqi border.

Having pushed into the city in June after months of encircling it, the SDF alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias is fighting in the heart of Raqqa, assisted by air strikes and special forces from the US-led coalition. "Transferring terrorists from Qalamoun (along the Lebanese-Syrian border) to the Iraqi-Syrian border is worrying and an insult to the (Iraqi) people". "We wish they were celebrating with us". Aoun praised the Lebanese army for carrying out the operation that ended with the deal to evacuate IS fighters and their families in return for information about nine troops who were kidnapped by IS in August 2014.

"We transported those defeated militants from one front we fight in to another front we also fight in", he said.

ISIS is expected to hand over one Hezbollah captive and the bodies of some Hezbollah forces and one Iranian fighter killed in battles across Syria as part of the deal.

"The objectives (of the operation) have been achieved", Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech broadcast live on the party's al-Manar television channel.

State news agency SANA said 10 people were killed and 28 wounded when the vehicles they were traveling in drove over mines. Iran has been one of Assad's main backers since Syria's conflict began in March 2011.

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