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

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.


General Titus yomutti2 Sat, 09/09/2017 - 09:29 Permalink

Hezbollah the "Terrorists" who are allied with the Christians of Lebanon, have protected "Secular" Lebanon, and are one of the greatest exterminators of the terrorist group they told us did 9/11, "Al-Qaeda" which the US does not seem so concerned about now, yet our friend "Israel" protects (which is illegal and a betrayal) & the fake terrorist group ISIS.That HezbollahSyria and Lebanon : Shia and Christian Unity under Hezbollah https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=33a_1400915503

In reply to by yomutti2

knukles General Titus Sat, 09/09/2017 - 09:43 Permalink

What's Shia LeBouf have to say about this?Help save Humanity and the EarthWe need to organize to ensure a good outcome for the childrenHillary 2020Not sarc.  An effective Democratic Party is a great path to the NWOHillary/Lewenski 2020Send your $1 campaign contribution early and often so they process all the paperwork and start mailing you thousands of dollars of useless crap.  Register as often as you like.After all, the party of the super-delegates should understand the Electoral College 

In reply to by General Titus

knukles toady Sat, 09/09/2017 - 09:57 Permalink

The actress Jennifer Lawrence is quoted as saying the Hurricanes are Trump's fault because he doesn't believe in global warming.Once we've successfully re-elected Hillary (After all a woman of such accomplishments, which I'll think about and get back to you on) Jennifer should be head of the EPAThink about it.  Somewhere, somebody figures shit out like this and it gets spewed out as troof.I want that fucking job.The new and deadly fear porn I could bring to life would be Magnificent.Hillary/Jennifer 2020Make America Regurgitate AgainWatch out for the Bosnian snipers!

In reply to by toady

DavidC knukles Sat, 09/09/2017 - 10:33 Permalink

Sometimes, when I think we've moved beyond the Middle Ages, someone of the stupidity of Jennifer Lawrence (who may or may not be a good 'actor' - as IMDB describes her - me, she's an ACTRESS) comes out and blames a hurricane as nature's wrath for Trump being elected President. That's one prime piece of stupid.


In reply to by knukles

HowdyDoody DavidC Sat, 09/09/2017 - 10:56 Permalink

"This is a turnabout... The U.S. is killing ISIS?"They aren't killing them that well. They have however blown up a bridge, which might make a bit more difficult for the SAA to say cross the Euphrates depending on the brige location. The US has airlifted 20+ ISIS honchos from bases close to Deir Ezzor just before the SAA moved in.  

In reply to by DavidC

Playtime's Over Manthong Sat, 09/09/2017 - 17:06 Permalink

Winner winner, sure seems reasonable to me. Life is not that complicated.  We have just forgot how to deal with problems effectively.  If i were to travel the globe with and ak47 and chop some heads, drown some families, throw Homos from high buildings.  I should expect to have a proper martyr prep talk with the little ones and slave wife?

In reply to by Manthong

HowdyDoody Post-Truth Society Sun, 09/10/2017 - 03:54 Permalink

The US made two rescue pickups for western operatives and top ISIS figures from the vicinity of Deir Ezzor just before the SAA broke the siege. Two were rescued on 26 August from a base north west of DZ, and on the 28th 20+ were airlifted out from another base south east of DZ.There is an unconfirmed report giving some details of what happened."On August 26, 2017, American Apache helicopters flew a mission at Tareef Town near Dayr El-Zor City which is being liberated by the Syrian Army and its allies as we write.  The 2 individual rats held Belgian and French citizenship, based on what I was told by my source.  In fact, my source tells me that these particular terrorist officers were employed by the French and Belgian intelligence services and viewed as “critical” sources of HUMINT or “human intelligence”. "On August 28, 2017, only 2 days later, the U.S. evacuated 22 ISIS field commanders and flew them to safety in northern Dayr El-Zor Province in the same area the first 2 Europeans were now situated, near Al-Ma’din.  These 22 were mostly former officers in Saddam’s army who were enlisted by the U.S. and the Zionist Apartheid State for developing what the world would come to know as ISIS.  They were viewed as irreplaceable assets for future operations and seen as totally loyal to the Sunni script.""On September 1 or 2, 2017, a Tupolev-160 strategic bomber took off from a base in Southern Russia and made its way to the Al-Ma’din corridor where it tail-dropped a large bomb suspended by a parachute.  The bomb was a thermobaric type called a “Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power” or ATBIP.  This is the FOAB I told you about earlier. ... And the Russians paid back the U.S. for extracting its valuable terrorist treasure by killing every single one of them in one fell swoop.  Nemo me impune lacessit."The only problem - confirmation. The Zionists certainly won't give any details, and the Russians won't either, just as they won't give any details about the mysterious S-300 launch into the eastern Med in early August - which prompted the US to cease bombing the SAA.  

In reply to by Post-Truth Society

General Titus knukles Sat, 09/09/2017 - 10:38 Permalink

The Hunger Games "star" would make a more qualified EPA head (sarcasm) than Lisa Jackson, who said that what animals exhale and plants eat as food , CO2 a building block of life as a "pollutant" while being a bag lady for the major crooks on Wall ST Goldman Sachs who are the main backers of the Ponzi Scheme "Carbon Credit" "Solution" to the globull warming scam, oops after the record cold temps, "Climate Change"As Geddy Lee of Rush says "Just between the Ice Ages anyway"

In reply to by knukles

guru69 Swampster (not verified) Sat, 09/09/2017 - 22:10 Permalink

Racism, to include any religious affiliation, will not be tolerated in ANY FORM on this site, including the disparagment of people in the comments section.  To report any form of discrimination, please right click on the comment number, copy the link to the comment, and send the comment link to abuse [at] zerohedge.com.  Any user found to be discriminating against ANY race, religion, or affiliation, will be banned immediately, and have their comments removed from the system. You have been warned. 

In reply to by Swampster (not verified)

SmittyinLA General Titus Sat, 09/09/2017 - 18:59 Permalink

911 was an inside job by Iran and the CIA, they hired dipshit commie sunni from Saudi Arabia with Iran/CIA money, the jihadi pI lots didnt evendors know whof was paYing for their op (CIA and Iran).

The proof is in the 911 Commissioner's side deals with sanctioned Iran exposed in this 2015 USDOJ agreement.


...which should have resulted in 1 US official's prosecution for treason and execution.

In reply to by General Titus