A furious Trump administration halted military assistance to the Lebanese army Wednesday, Aug. 30, when a Hizballah-brokered deal allowed some 300 ISIS fighters to safely leave the Lebanese border battlefield under a truce. Fifty tanks and armored vehicles which the US recently airlifted to Lebanon for battling jihadi forces occupying the northern Beqaa will be taken back. Their acquisition was funded by Saudi Arabia.
For three weeks, the Lebanese, Syrian and Hizballah armies, along with US and British special forces, have been battling the ISIS positions that took hold on both sides of the Syrian-Lebanese border. A decision on whether these coalition forces will stay on is pending.
But Washington lost patience with the campaign upon discovering that Hizballah was calling the shots on the front lines. On Tuesday, its deall with the jihadists allowed them to head east in a bus convoy for their bastion in Deir ez-Zour on the Iraqi border.
To impede the convoy’s progress, the US air force bombed a bridge and a road Wedneday.
The top US envoy for the international coalition against ISIS, Brett McGurk, tweeted Wednesday that these "terrorists should be killed on the battlefield, not bused across Syria to the Iraqi border without Iraq's consent." He said the coalition will help ensure that "these terrorists can never" enter Iraq.
The US-led coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said: "We are monitoring their location in real time." He did not rule out strikes against the approximately terrorists while on the move. Dillon stressed: "We are not party to any agreements that were made by the Lebanese Hizballah and ISIS or the (Syrian) regime."
The Iraqis blasted Hizballah for “dumping the terrorists on their border instead of eradicating them.”