Syrian army, Hezbollah announce ceasefire to press IS surrender

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-27 16:21:07|Editor: Song Lifang
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DAMASCUS, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army and the allied Hezbollah group declared a ceasefire Sunday in the Qalamoun region, following the Islamic State (IS) group's surrender after intense battles, the pro-government al-Watan electronic newspaper reported.

The military operation ended at 7:00 a.m. (0400 GMT) in the badlands of Qara in the Qalamoun region in Syria and the adjacent barrens of al-Qaa on the Lebanese side of the border, after the IS militants in that mountainous region declared their surrender to Hezbollah overnight, said the report.

Meanwhile, pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reported that the IS militants surrendered as the Hezbollah fighters were closing in on the Halimet Qara mountain in the rugged Qalamoun region.

IS negotiated with Hezbollah on two points, the first is the IS militants demand to leave with their families to their stronghold in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour in Syria, and in turn, they will reveal the destiny of around nine Lebanese soldiers kidnapped by IS on the Lebanese side of the borders in 2014.

Some reports suggested that the IS militants had already killed the Lebanese soldiers, as reports said Hezbollah was told by IS about their destiny, but the Shiite group will leave the declaration about the fate of the soldiers to the Lebanese army.

Still, it's not yet clear whether the IS will be granted a safe passage to Deir al-Zour, but the terror-labeled group has revealed to Hezbollah the location of the bodies of four Hezbollah fighters who were killed in the Qalamoun battle.

On Aug. 19, Hezbollah and the Syrian army launched their offensive on IS positions in the barrens of Qara and Jarajir in the western Qalamoun region, in tandem with a military operation by the Lebanese army on IS on the Lebanese side of the border to end the terror-designated group's presence on the borderline between Syria and Lebanon.

The operation came just a couple of weeks after Hezbollah and the Syrian army dislodged the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front from areas in western Qalamoun and the adjacent Juroud Arsal barrens on the Lebanese side of the border.