France calls for transition from Assad rule in Syria

An ISIS fighter is seen in a bus as he departs from the Lebanon Syria border zone in Qalamoun

An ISIS fighter is seen in a bus as he departs from the Lebanon Syria border zone in Qalamoun

"He can not be the solution", said Le Drian, who was defence minister in the former Socialist government.

Qarat fell during a joint weeklong offensive between Syria's army and Lebanon's Hezbollah to oust the militants from an area that straddles the Syria-Lebanon border. Syrian government forces control part of the provincial capital of the same name and its airport, but have been besieged by IS for years.

The Lebanese Hezbollah movement on Saturday accused the United States of putting at risk the lives of women and children stranded on a convoy of Islamic State fighters that has been stuck in the Syrian desert for the past three days.

Dozens of Islamic State fighters have slipped into jihadist-controlled areas of Syria despite U.S. efforts to block a convoy carrying them, opposition activists have said.

Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, commander of the counter-IS coalition in Iraq and Syria, said the convoy of buses and vans carrying hundreds of fighters but also women and children had turned around after being restocked with food and water from forces allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"The coalition will not condone Isis [IS] fighters moving further east to the Iraqi border", the coalition said in a statement. "I went to Damascus", he said, adding that he sought to convince Assad to let the convoy pass through government territory.

"The number of those transferred was not big: 310 exhausted, broken, militants who had surrendered and lost the willpower to fight will not change the course of the battle in Deir al-Zour, where there are tens of thousands of fighters", Nasrallah said on Wednesday, referring to the province where the IS fighters were headed.

The evacuation was meant to be part of a ceasefire deal ISIS forces on the Lebanon border made with Lebanon and Syria, but U.S. officials expressed anger at the idea, saying that busing ISIS members is unacceptable, and all must be killed on the spot.

The terrorist outfit has lost much of the territory it controlled in the two countries, and thousands of its fighters have been killed since late 2014, when the coalition was formed to defeat the group.

A reportedly "embarrassed" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had agreed to the deal for the sake of Lebanon.

"The issue of refugees is very hard for Lebanon because it has a great deal of weight on the economy, the environment and security", said the Lebanese prime minister, who receives more than 1.2 million Syrian refugees.

He stated that Lebanese army soldiers have made gains against terrorists, underlying that Hezbollah resistance fighters have driven members of the foreign-sponsored and Takfiri Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group from Juroud Arsal region, located 124 kilometers northeast of Beirut.

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