Originally published in Huffington Post Greece on Sept. 6, 2017
A few days ago, the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah announced the signing of an agreement with the Assad regime in Syria the handing over of the Lebanese border region Jroud by ISIS. In return, ISIS would give back the corpses of eight Lebanese soldiers, the corpse of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) soldier and a captive Hezbollah soldier. On the other hand, Hezbollah and Assad will transfer 330 ISIS fighters along with their families numbering 320 persons, in the Bukamal region on the Syrian-Iraq border. The transfer to the agreed area began immediately. This agreement has created a big issue for many observers, as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi expressed his dissatisfaction with it. On the other hand, the US Defense Department has announced that it has rejected it and that the only agreement with terrorists is killing, not transporting them from one region to another. Prior to this announcement, American air raids were made by the International Coalition near the ISIS fighters.
This agreement and the reactions around it are surrounded by many suspicions and secrets that I will try to shed light on in this article. I will begin from the starting point of the battles in the area. With the first fire, the local ISIS military leader along with two soldiers were peacefully surrendered to Hezbollah. When asked by a reporter about the reason for his surrender, the officer replied: “It’s over”. The fate of the terrorist remains unknown. Obviously, he was just a Hezbollah agent who returned to his base when his job finished.
On the other hand, the Lebanese army succeeded in a few days to recover large areas controlled by ISIS. The organization would have been eliminated altogether if Hezbollah had not intervened to stop the battle, asking to start negotiations with it. Within two days, Hezbollah announced the deal. Here is the question why Hezbollah has prevented the Lebanese army from completely wiping out ISIS. This confirms the theory that ISIS in this region is nothing more than a tool in the hands of Hezbollah and the Assad regime. Evidence of this theory is the site where ISIS fighters were transferred. Al-Bukamal is located near the ISIS war zone against US-backed Kurdish militias. This justifies the US bombing that took place with the arrival of the ISIS elements near the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor. My source assured me that this bombing targeted a bridge on the river Euphrates connecting the arrival point of the fighters with Deir ez-Zor. So the US prevented them from joining the forces fighting the Kurds. A second proof of the theory is that a few days after their placement in the eastern part of the Syrian desert, 113 of them joined the forces of the Assad regime. And here comes another question: Why did the US not target the ISIS fighters directly?
The US side has negotiated with ISIS in the past and specifically in the battle to control the city of Al-Tabqa southwest of Raqqa. In this negotiation, the US was represented by the Kurdish militias and the result was the secret removal of ISIS from the city. Also, in recent battles in Tal Afar, the US, in co-operation with the Iraqi government, secretly opened the escape route for ISIS fighters, so battles were completed in just one week although it was estimated that they would last for at least five months.
The Iraqi prime minister’s reaction has shown his anger over the agreement on ISIS fighters in Lebanon, noting that the Iraqi forces have reached an agreement with the ISIS forces in the city of Mosul and opened a road to escape towards the Syrian border. However, reality contrasts with Abadi’s story. A very well-informed source confirmed to me that the Iraqi forces tried several times to reach an agreement with ISIS within Mosul to open a way out of the city, but the ISIS fighters refused.
By closing the page of the recent agreement, and after analyzing its details, it is clear, as I have said in my previous articles, that ISIS is just a dirty tool used by many local powers predominantly the Assad regime and Iran, as well as international who use the organization to blackmail governments.