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Terrorism & Insurgency

Lebanese operation ends in controversy

01 September 2017
Lebanese soldiers from the 1st Intervention Regiment sit atop an M113 armoured personnel carrier in northeast Lebanon on 29 August, a day after a ceasefire was reached that ended an eight-day offensive to oust Islamic State militants from Lebanese territory. Other soldiers ride a Kawasaki all-terrain vehicle armed with a .50 calibre heavy machine gun. Source: Nicholas Blanford

Key Points

  • A LAF victory against the Islamic State has been tarnished by a Hizbullah ceasefire deal
  • The remaining militants have been given safe passage to eastern Syria

A ceasefire deal that gave dozens of Islamic State militants safe passage to eastern Syria has marred a successful Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) offensive and raised speculation over future United States military support.

The US and Britain, both financial and material backers of the LAF, criticised the deal between Lebanon’s Shia Hizbullah militia and the Islamic State that saw the militants and their families bussed to a pocket of territory that straddles the Lebanese-Syrian border to Al-Bukamal on Syria’s eastern border with Iraq.

US aircraft staged airstrikes on 30 August in an apparent attempt to prevent the convoy from reaching Al-Bukamal.

Nevertheless, both the US and UK have signalled they will continue to support the LAF.

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