"Like Moths To The Flame": ISIS Fighters Cut Down While Approaching Stranded Convoy

Tyler Durden's picture

A convoy of buses containing hundreds of lightly armed ISIS terrorists and their family members remains stuck in the Syrian desert and pinned down as US and coalition planes continue to pick off militants who stray too far from the group. External ISIS vehicles have also tried to access and aid the group, but as US coalition spokesman Army Col. Ryan S. Dillon statedcoalition aircraft are picking them off as they come close "like moths to the flame."

Dillon estimated that over 40 ISIS vehicles were destroyed, including nearly 100 terrorists killed, while heading toward the convoy as the coalition has been "able to continue to just observe and pick them off one at a time.” But on Friday afternoon the US alliance announced the sudden withdrawal of its surveillance aircraft over the site at Russia's request, publishing the following statement:

At approximately 7am GMT Sept. 8, Syrian pro-regime forces advanced past the 11-bus convoy of ISIS terrorists and non-combatants in the eastern Syrian desert. To ensure safe de-confliction of efforts to defeat ISIS, coalition surveillance aircraft departed the adjacent airspace at the request of Russian officials during their assault on Dawyr Az Zawyr.

The Syrian Army and Hezbollah in the Qara area in Syria's Qalamoun mountains when the ISIS bus convoy deal was initiated on August 28, 2017. Photo source: AFP/Louai Beshara

ISIS convoy in Syria. Photo source: Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse

The convoy has been stranded in no-man's land on the Syrian battlefield since at least last Wednesday (9/30) after its progress was halted by US coalition airstrikes along the evacuation route, including a key bridge. The Lebanese government and Hezbollah arranged a deal with Syria to allow the convoy to pass as ISIS fighters and their families were transferred from northeast Lebanon after loosing a decisive battle there. In exchange, ISIS handed over the bodies of previously kidnapped Lebanese soldiers as well as a the body of an Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer to Hezbollah.

The deal, which President Assad acknowledged as "an embarrassment" has been mired in controversy as it would result in experienced ISIS fighters being dropped in eastern Syria along the Iraq border. Both Iraq and the US have vociferously protested the arrangement, essentially labeling the deal an intentional terror transfer that will hinder Iraq's ongoing anti-ISIS fight. 

But US officials have failed to acknowledged that the deal was first and foremost brokered by the Lebanese government, specifically Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Michel Aoun. A reluctant Assad agreed to let the convoy pass after the personal intervention of Nasrallah, who argued the deal would result in fewer Lebanese lives lost as the army sought to root out the final few hundred ISIS fighters in the border region of Arsal after their recent overall defeat (in what was set to be a "fight to the death" scenario). The United States has given over $1 billion in military aid to Lebanon over the past years, and itself contributed US special forces support for the successful Arsal anti-ISIS campaign. While the US coalition has highlighted Hezbollah's role in the deal, it has conveniently side-stepped the lead role of its own allies in the Lebanese government.  

For the past week and a half a catch-22 standoff has developed: Syria made a difficult and embarrassing deal - in Hezbollah leader's Hassan Nasrallah's words "for the sake of Lebanon" - yet it's a deal which is going unfulfilled as the US coalition intervened to stop the evacuation. At the same time Hezbollah fighters are escorting the convoy as part of upholding its end of the bargain. Friday's Operation Inherent Resolve statement confirms that though Russia waived off American surveillance in the area, the coalition's stance has not changed, nor does it appear that the remaining ISIS buses have moved:

“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 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,” said Braga.

The ISIS fighters and their families have continued to be provided food and water through Syrian government lines. The group exited Lebanon with 17 chartered buses along with an unknown number of individual vehicles - all attempting to make it to ISIS held Abu Kamal in Deir Ezzor Province close to the Iraq border, but that number was reduced to 11 this week as 6 buses returned to an unknown fate in Syrian government territory. In a speech announcing specifics at the beginning of the evacuation, Nasrallah put the original numbers at 308 ISIS fighters and 331 civilian family members in the convoy.  Wounded ISIS members travelling in ambulances reportedly made it to Islamic State territory ahead of the convoy last week. 

The US coalition has stated its desire to separate the militants from their families in order to destroy the ISIS terrorists. Apparently there are even pregnant women in the group - this according to Hezbollah's Al Manar news network. The US issued a statement Tuesday, saying, “Coalition leaders have communicated a course of action to the Russians, providing the Syrian regime an opportunity to remove the women and children from this situation.”

Though the whole arrangement is one of the more bizarre deals to come out of the Syrian war, it's been widely seen as a blow to ISIS propaganda and recruiting efforts. Last week Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk reported, "some ISIS leaders in Syria did not want members of the group who had surrendered territory to be welcomed back into the so-called caliphate, and the militants should have fought to the death instead." Other observers of Islamic State social media accounts have noted that ISIS members initially reacted in disbelief, claiming the entire brokered deal and ISIS retreat to be a fiction of Hezbollah media.

With the Syrian Army's assault on Deir Ezzor city successfully underway, it is likely that Assad's calculation was to allow the pressure to be let off Lebanon (and perhaps repaying a favor to Hezbollah, which has sacrificed much to defend Syria) with the thinking that the ISIS stronghold of Deir Ezzor Province would be the next to be pummeled anyway. In meantime, this stranded ISIS convoy episode continues to be among the more bizarre waiting games of the entire war.

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Maynard G Krebbs's picture

Are you sure these are not of the free range variety...?

barkingbill's picture

and they got no fresh heads to chop off out there in the middle of nowhere. poor things. 

NickyGall's picture

Here is an article that looks at the origins of the U.S. policy toward Syria:


The CIA has a long history of advising the U.S. government regarding how the Assad family should be handled.

General Titus's picture

VP Joe Biden, Hillary Uranium to Russia Clinton, Turkish President Edrogen, and top US Generals Martin Dempsey & Wesley Clark (former NATO Commader) have all said that ISIS is a fake terrorist group financed, armed and trained to varying degrees by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, & Turkey.  Add in CIA, UK, French, & Mossad and you have the whole truth!

aqualech's picture

You forgot to add Israel to the list of sponsors.

General Titus's picture

You are correct but I was citing what actually Biden, Clinton, Edrogen, Dempsey & Clark have stated publicly. Biden let it slip and had to apologize. Traitor Hillary was through Wikileaks, Edrogen said it, never apologized, and of course Dempsey was during depositions, and Clark has even eloborated further on it, stating that ISIS was created to destroy secular Syria & Hezbollah who are the allies and friends of the Christians

HowdyDoody's picture

The head of Israel's intelligence service said Israel prefers ISIS to Assad. An American-Israeli businessman and a “philanthropist” named Mordechai Kahana has started a school in Idlib, the dumping ground for all the terrorists that won't renounce violence.



General Titus's picture

It gets worse Bibi's pal & Israeli ambassador to the US michael Oren said that Israel prefers Al-Qaeda terrorists, who were told did 9/11, over the secular elected president of secular Syria, Dr Assad

Makes you question the lies of 9/11 even more


Fireman's picture

Send the scum to Israhell where the vermin was spawned, Nutnyahoo can use all the filth he can get in the khasarian terror sewer.

readyforit's picture

They'll be fine.

Son of Loki's picture


"It's cruel and mean to cut down these isis doctors lawyers and engineers who dream to come to the United States..."



~ Soweeto Hussein bin Bama

drendebe10's picture

The traitorous lying illegal Indonesian kenyan alien muslim fudgepacker imbecile needs its skin sand papered off, buried in salt then dropped off by those buses. Fuk dat turd


Born in Hawaii? Fat fukn chance.

secretargentman's picture

I think you have to be a citizen to be a traitor, technically. Otherwise you're just a foreign agent. 

Akzed's picture

It's getting hard to tell who's fighting whom, and why.

CRM114's picture

Well, Allah told them to.

Although it seems not everyone heard right. Probably none of them did. But they are all sure they did.

New_Meat's picture

Then there is the old solution: "Kill 'em all and let Allah sort 'em out"

nevertheless's picture

You hit the nail on the head, the goal is always confusion, make it so complex people tune out. 


To be sure, if there is progress getting the war to end in Syria, the US and it's masters in Israel will be there to try and keep the war going. 

hoist the bs flag's picture

I thought we don't negotiate with bad guys? why haven't we mowed down this convoy yet?

assets are expensive I guess

WaterWings's picture

 SpecOps onboard, getting out last minute?

CRM114's picture

So we have women and children being used as bait by the US, which is deeply immoral if not actually illegal, breaching a deal made by its terrorist allies (this week) with a war criminal, and consisting of a bunch of terrorists escorted by other terrorists, who are leaving one place of massacre to go and do the same somewhere else.


Tell me why I should give a f#ck.

OverTheHedge's picture

Firstly, remember the photo of the poor driver of the bus, surrounded by all those masked jihadis: he probably didn't sign up for this shit.

Secondly, something to consider is that, as long as the fighters get to shelter alongside the women and children they are OK, but as soon as they try to leave, they are killed by remote control. I take it that, in an untenable, impossible situation, surrender is not an option? That's your country, that is, refusing to give quarter, and insisting on death for these poor idiots, without any kind of due process, legality or rules of war as accepted by the international "community". 

Things like this will be remembered, and don't be all upset and incredulous when US soldiers are placed in similar predicaments in the not so distant future. The grunts and sqaddies will remember, as this directly affects their future chances of survival. There may come a point where the generals' orders are so insane, the rank and file choose not to hear them.

Or another way of saying it: hubris.

CRM114's picture

Due process, legality and Rules of War - none of these were written to cover the current situation faced worldwide, by often stateless terrorists attacking other countries' civilians. And that due process works both ways. There are clearly examples of both states and terrorists doing things which are legal but immoral (e.g. extraordinary rendition), and things which are moral but illegal.

The statesmen, especially at the UN, need to get of their expense-account widened backsides and get to work on this.

Secondly, I am sorry about the bus driver, but it is impossible to protect every innnocent in a war. If he is not being allowed to walk out of there, then ISIS as ever is holding him as a human shield. This does not guarantee the US can't kill him. The Geneva Conventions require proportionality in actions where civilians die, not absolute safety.

What more affects the chances of survival of soldiers are ridiculously restrictive rules of engagement which simply make them targets in a war which is unwinnable. Add to that the possibility of outrageously punitive legal cases when one gets home*, and one can see why experienced soldiers are leaving in droves, and very few wish to sign up.

* https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/feb/02/iraq-human-rights-lawyer-phi...

ConnectingTheDots's picture

Unless of course the bus driver or other such person is your son, father, brother etc. Would your words be the same then?

CRM114's picture

Well, this is always the crucial moral question, isn't it?

And if I say Yes, many will either call me a liar or someone with no moral values, and if I say No then I'll be (rightly) accused of hypocrisy.

In my case, I would say Yes. And I have put my life on the line for others, so I do understand the risks of war.

U4 eee aaa's picture

It's different this time?

east of eden's picture

Well, you should 'give a fuck' because your name is on the invoice.

lolygager's picture

MOAB the fuck out of that circle jerk. 

U4 eee aaa's picture

And people wonder why there is an ISIS in the first place....

hooligan2009's picture

 do't get it, why doesn't either the russians, or the americans or the syrians just blow the convoy to bits?

Sliced into ribbons's picture

Because there are women and children in the busses too.

Old Poor Richard's picture

Sometimes you can't let this drag out because of optics of a humanitarian problem, their continued plight.  Possibly less politically painful just to swiftly bomb the entire convoy simply suffering the heat once instead of it going on and on.

toady's picture

Exactly. I'm surprised the bleeding hearts haven't brought the poor refugees to Detroit or Minneapolis yet...

U4 eee aaa's picture

That's a bloody insane comment

CRM114's picture

It suits the Americans. They are killing terrorists who aren't able to leave, and dead women and children don't hit the nightly news.

It suits the Russians. They would have to kill those terrorists if they got to where they're going. The US is doing their dirty work.

The Syrians can't get there, and don't need to. The US is doing their dirty work.

east of eden's picture

Disagree. I think the Russians/SYrians made a deal with them, the Americans found out about it, and didn't like it.

For instance, what if the deal was to drop these figthers off in Dier-ey-Zor so they could engage the so called 'American ISIS' forces that are blocking the road?

The Russian's would never have agreed to allow the convoy to go on unless there was some advantage in it for them.

Blankone's picture

The Russian's just want them out of the area. I think it is a mistake to have negotiated for them to safely leave. They should have paid for their crimes.

The US is trying to send the message that their proxy terrorists are better off if they stay and fight the Russian's and any retreat is to be coordinated with the US so the US can direct them to where they are to fight again. And for them to never negotiate with the Russian's independently.

east of eden's picture

Well, seems to me that the Russians are the only ones who have ever done anything right, in Syria or elsewhere. I'm not talking about Russian Communists (who were, in reality, zionists), but the Russians of today. 

Holding on to a force of brutal killers is not the way to win 'hearts and minds', as they say.

CRM114's picture

Also possible. Whilst I think the Russians would be disadvantaged militarily by the terrorists getting to where they are going, they probably wrung some more concessions out of Assad as compensation.

General Titus's picture

The US is in large part responsible for this. The "Amen" Corner of Congress is owned and controlled by Special Interest groups run by Israel & Saudi Arabia, both of whom wanted secular Syria destroyed, and Orthodox Christian Russia, Lebanese militia Hezbollah, Shia Non-Arab majority Iran, Shia Iraq, & Shia militias thwarted their war criminal plans.

Can you name anything that secular Syria has done to the US that would warrant Obozo & criminal traitor Hillaries push to create ISIS & assist them & Al-CIA-Duh terrorists to destroy Syria?

U4 eee aaa's picture

The US seems to be getting quite skilled at doing dirty work.

Almost as good as they are at creating it

What goes around comes around

Stroke's picture

ahhh.....the good ol days of Janet Reno...

HK VP9's picture

Because its much more profitable to hunt over a baited area. 

shovelhead's picture

Let them cross into Iraq.

BOOM. All gone.

tmosley's picture

Why would you want to throw away your bait?

This is great!

New_Meat's picture

Some old Chineese guy said:

"... those skilled at making the enemy move do so by creating a situation to which he must conform; they entice him with something he is certain to take and with lures of profit they can await him in strength."

General Titus's picture

Just so you all understand, secular Syria which has the second largest population of Christioans in the ME, and allot of "Diversity" as to its religious, & ethnic groups, was one of the 7 nations that were to be bombed or invaded after the false flag attacks on 9/11. Iraq, Libya, & Syria were on that list. Wake the F up people they are destroying not only our nations, but the world!

east of eden's picture

"Both Iraq and the US have vociferously protested the arrangement, essentially labeling the deal an intentional terror transfer that will hinder Iraq's ongoing anti-ISIS fight" 

THe writer seems to be 'assuming' that the Iraqi's (a) still want you in their country and (b) you think you are still calling the shots, neither of which, is true.

MilwaukeeMark's picture

I liken this to Goodfellas where Jimmy Burke cuts all ties to the Lufthansa heist by whacking his former conspirators.

Sudden Debt's picture

Let them go to heaven! Let's help those ISIS guys!

Why not just put 1 sniper into action with a backpack of ammo?

sure it will take him all day but that's it.