THE US-led coalition admitted bombing fleeing Isis gunmen on Wednesday to force them back towards the advancing Syrian army.
Some 330 Isis gunmen — including 26 travelling by ambulance— and a similar number of their civilian relatives were evacuated from an area straddling the Syrian-Lebanese border earlier this week in a ceasefire deal.
Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon said warplanes struck the road west of Abu Kamal on the Iraqi border to prevent them entering Iraq.
“The convoy of buses and ambulances has not been struck, but there have been individual vehicles and individuals clearly identified as Isis, and we did strike those,” he said.
Col Dillon claimed the deal showed Syria and ally Russia were not serious about fighting Isis.
But the US-supported sieges of Iraq’s Mosul and Syria’s Raqqa left routes for the death cult to escape and pile pressure on Syrian forces.
Yesterday the Syrian army continued its advances against Isis, pushing deeper into the surrounded pocket in Homs and Hama provinces and west along the road to Isis-besieged Deir Ezzor.
Col Dillon also confirmed US troops supporting Kurdish militia had traded fire with “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) factions in northern Syria — also backed by the US and its ally Turkey — near Manbij in northern Aleppo on August 21.
Meanwhile several FSA factions in southern Syria — supported by US and British forces occupying the town of al-Tanf — rejected demands from coalition ally Jordan to withdraw across the border.
The factions, numbering a few hundred militants, said they had merged and vowed to keep fighting the Syrian army — which took more ground from them this week.