The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

ISIS Convoy coming from Al-Qalamoun continues its journey towards its last stronghold in Syria

The SOHR learned that the convoy moving hundreds of ISIS members along with their families from the Western Qalamoun continues its way towards Deir Ezzor Province. The convoy, which started its journey a few hours ago, is still within the borders of Rif Dimashq Province. It is expected to arrive at Deir Ezzor Province, which is mostly controlled by ISIS, anytime during this morning. The SOHR published a few hours ago that the convoy transferring ISIS members and their families has begun its journey from Al-Sheikh Ali Crossing area in the barrens of the Western Qalamoun at the Syrian-Lebanese Border heading towards Deir Ezzor Province, which is mostly controlled by ISIS. Buses first gathered yesterday morning, the 28th of August 2017, in the barren mountains of Al-Qalamoun in order to take the second step stipulated in the agreement after ISIS had handed over the dead bodies in their possession. As a result, the regime forces and the Lebanese Hezbollah have now regained full control over the Syrian-Lebanese border, except for several kilometers in the southwestern part of Rif Dimashq, opposite to Shab’a Farms.

This agreement came after 12 days of targeting the barren mountains of Al-Qalamoun with shelling, military operations and raids. Once ISIS members move from Al-Qalamoun to Deir Ezzor, the regime forces would regain full control over the Syrian-Lebanese border except for the area opposite to Shab’a area, which is adjacent to the southwestern part of Rif Dimashq. The SOHR published on the 15th of August 2017 that tens of buses transporting civilians and fighters of Ahl Al-Sham Brigades and their families reached Al-Rahiba town in the eastern Qalamoun. The Convoy, which consisted of 40 buses and 14 Red Cross-affiliate Vehicles carrying at least 2000 people, including 300 fighters of Ahl Al-Sham Brigades along with their families, entered the town of Falita in the Syrian territories coming from Lebanese territories. The buses were heading to the area of Al-Rahiba in the Eastern Qalamoun. The Syrian Observatory learned that tens of families chose to go to the regime-controlled areas, while reliable sources told the Syrian Observatory that the young men refrained from returning to the Syrian territories for fear of being recruited by the pro-regime Qalamoun Shield Forces. It is worth mentioning that this operation comes as part of the agreement, which was reached on the 3rd of August 2017, to evacuate the people from the Syrian barren hills of Falita and the Lebanese barren hills of Arsal in exchange for handing over the prisoners of the Lebanese Hezbollah who were held by Hayaat Tahrir Al-Sham in Idlib to which a convoy carrying at least 8 thousand people, including hundreds of members and fighters of Hayaat Tahrir Al-Sham along with their families, arrived.