Lebanon finds suspected remains of ISIL-held soldiers

ISIS in Syria

Despite US-Russia Tensions, Contacts Remain Resilient on Syria: Report

The Syrian army declared on Sunday its approval to allow Islamic State (IS) militants to withdraw from the western Qalamoun region toward the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, following their surrender to the military forces and Hezbollah, SANA said.

The deal is expected to see hundreds of IS fighters leave both sides of the border for an area in eastern Syria, Syrian and Lebanese sources said.

Meanwhile, Syrian Arab Army units destroyed a cache of ammunition and a number of dens belonging to the ISIL terrorists in Deir Ezzor city and its countryside at a time when new ISIL-affiliated terrorist groups fled away from the fighting fronts.

The army had said the missing soldiers were its "top concern", as it launched an offensive earlier this month against an estimated 600 IS jihadists in the border region. The group fights alongside the Syrian regime army in major battles.

The head of Lebanon's internal security agency says eight Lebanese soldiers who had been in captivity of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group since 2014 are nearly certainly dead.

The Lebanese Army eliminated 12 Daesh strongholds on the Lebanese-Syrian border during the second day of its anti-Daesh offensive, according to a statement of the army's command obtained by Sputnik on Sunday.

On Aug. 2, 2014, Daesh announced it took 11 Lebanese soldiers as hostages on the outskirts of Arsal on the Syrian-Lebanese border; later the terror group executed two of them.

A military source said Islamic State militants had "succumbed under fire and asked for negotiations".

Hizbollah, which has been fighting in Syria's civil war on behalf of president Bashar Al Assad's government since 2012, has used its offensive against ISIL as a tool to pressure Lebanese leaders to recognise the legitimacy of the Syrian government.

Washington classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

Hezbollah and its allies have been pressing the Lebanese state to normalise relations with Damascus, testing Lebanon's official policy of neutrality towards the conflict next door.

The Lebanese army has been battling ISIL fighters in their last border foothold, near the town of Ras Baalbek.

Last week, Lebanon and Hezbollah each announced they had made significant gains against ISIL fighters, driving them back into a smaller part of the arid hills on the border.

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