Evacuation of Syrian ISIS militants from Damascus delayed
It said the deal fell through after a top rebel commander, Zahran Alloush, was killed in an air strike on Friday
A U.N.-sponsored deal to evacuate more than 2,000 ISIS militants and other militants from rebel-held parts of south Damascus has been delayed, a monitor of the war said on Saturday, after a rebel commander was killed.
Coaches has been due to give the fighters safe passage to Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS in northern Syria, Lebanese Hezbollah’s TV station said.
But the deal fell through after Zahran Alloush, through whose territory the convoy was due to pass, was killed in an air strike on Friday, the broadcaster - Manar - said.
The UK Observatory for Human Rights, an independent monitor that tracks violence across Syria, said in a statement the evacuation had been expected on Saturday but was delayed as there was now no secure territory for the militants to pass through.
The TV report said coaches that had arrived on Friday to pick up the fighters and at least 1,500 family members had turned back.
If it went ahead, the evacuation would be a success for the government of President Bashar al-Assad, increasing its chances of reasserting control over a strategic area just 4 km (2.5 miles) south of the center of the capital.
It also highlights increasing efforts by the U.N. and foreign governments to bring about local ceasefires and safe-passage agreements as steps towards the wider goal of ending Syria's civil war, in which more than 250,000 people have been killed in nearly five years of fighting.
The rebels’ capitulation was forced by a government siege over several years that squeezed the flow of food and humanitarian aid, starving many people to death in what rights group Amnesty International has described as a war crime.
ISIS releases 25 Assyrian Christians in SyriaThe 25 Christians were part of about 230 Assyrian Christians that were captured by the extremist group after it overran Assyrian communities Middle East
Ministry: Russia's air force hit 1,093 ISIS targetsRussia’s air force carried out 302 sorties in Syria between Dec. 18 and 23, hitting 1,093 ISIS targets Home Page
ISIS shelling of Syrian school area kills nineISIS militants shelled a school district in eastern Syria killing at least nine students and wounding around 20 others Middle East
Syria activists in hiding after ISIS killingHis family and colleagues say Ibrahim Abdelqader was killed by a secret operative from ISIS who befriended him before he struck Home Page
ISIS claims northern Syria suicide bombings that killed 26The attacks in the predominantly Christian town of Tal Tamr occurred late Thursday Middle East
ISIS says it was behind deadly attack in Syria’s HomsTalal Barazi said the blast hit the neighborhood of al-Zahraa Middle East
U.S.-led coalition conduct 22 air strikes on ISISThe U.S. and its allies conducted 15 air strikes in Iraq and seven in Syria against ISIS the coalition leading the operations said Middle East
Saudi FM: Gulf states discuss sending anti-ISIS troops to SyriaForeign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the discussions were aimed at clarifying the needs and the objectives of such an operation News
ISIS eyeing oil targets ‘beyond’ Syria strongholdThe U.S. is examining who controlled oil fields, pipelines, trucking routes and other infrastructure in vulnerable areas Middle East