Syria's Assad gives Eid prayers near seized Islamic State pocket

Lester Mason
September 1, 2017

"I went personally to President Assad and asked for his help to remove Daesh from" the area, he said, referring to IS by an Arabic acronym. "They had turned and had driven back into regime held areas", Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend told reporters via a video teleconference from Baghdad.

The U.N. human rights chief is urging the USA -led coalition and other forces fighting in Raqqa against the Islamic State group's "murderous regime" to do more to protect civilians from airstrikes and other firepower.

The militants previously revealed the locations of the remains of Lebanese soldiers captured in 2014 in exchange for safe passage through Syrian government territory.

The leader of Hezbollah says he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss a deal to evacuate Islamic State militants from the Syria-Lebanon border.

But Le Drian, who was defence minister under former President Francois Hollande, said the situation had changed because Islamic State militants were on the verge of defeat. That has angered Iraq and the US, which has launched airstrikes to block the IS convoy.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV said Thursday that Haji's body was received by the group and is now awaiting a DNA test before being sent to Iran.


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.

On Thursday, the convoy was moved to another Syrian government-held area after their passage to Boukamal, the IS-held town on the border with Iraq, was blocked.

Coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said the USA and its allies continue to monitor the buses.

Abdurrahman said the group is exploring secret ways in which the convoy can reach Islamic State territory without being targeted by the US -led coalition. He added that the coalition struck several vehicles in militant-held parts of Syria overnight.

The advance toward Deir al-Zour was made through the city of Sukhnah, which has been recently taken by the army, in the remote desert area of Sukhnah in the eastern countryside of Homs province in central Syria. 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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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