Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Hezbollah halts Saraya Ah al-Sham evacuation deal: spokesman

Local | 2017-08-12 15:13:34
Hezbollah halts Saraya Ah al-Sham evacuation deal: spokesman
(Zaman Al Wasl)- The process of evacuating members of Saraya Ahl al-Sham and about 3000 thousands of civilians from Lebanese border enclave has been delayed until further notice, Lebanese media and group's spokesman said on Saturday.

The 300 fighters of Free Syrian Army group were supposed to pull out from Juroud Arsal on the border with Syria along with their families and about 3000 refugees, rebel commander told Zaman al-Wasl.

Omar al-Sheikh, spokesman for Saaya Ahl al-Sham told Zaman al-Wasl that the evacuaton deal failed due to Hezbollah pressue on M. General Abbas Ibrahim, Head of the Lebanese General Security, to change the deal.

Ibrahim told rebel in phone call that their destination will be Draa or Idlib provinces, adding that they should reconcile with the Syrian Regime in order to head to the rebel-held town of al-Ruhaiba in Eastern Qalamoun district.

The group's departure follows that of the Nusra Front, which quit its enclave on the border early this month for rebel-held Idlib after its defeat in a Hezbollah offensive.

During that evacuation and others of rebel groups inside Syria to insurgent-held areas, the Syrian government has allowed them to travel under protection in buses and carry small arms. This time, civilians will be allowed to travel in their own cars, Ibrahim said.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shi'ite group that has been a close ally of Assad during Syria's six-year civil war, fighting mostly Sunni rebels seeking to oust him.

The pull-out by Saraya Ahl al-Sham will leave an Islamic State pocket in the same area as the only remaining militant stronghold on the border. A Lebanese army offensive against Islamic State is expected to start soon.

The movement of rebel and militant factions across Syria's border with Lebanon represented the biggest military spillover of its civil war into its tiny neighbor.

The factions took positions in the hills that straddle the border around the northeastern Lebanese town of Arsal, home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. More than 1 million Syrians have sought shelter in Lebanon during the war.

Last week, Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah, said that while the Lebanese army would lead the offensive against Islamic State inside Lebanon, his group and the Syrian army would simultaneously attack it on the Syrian side of the border.

A Lebanese military source later said that this would not entail any direct military coordination between the Lebanese and Syrian armies. (With Reuters)

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