At Russia’s request, the U.S. military on Friday called off its surveillance of a convoy of Islamic State fighters that has been stuck in the Syrian desert for the past 10 days, saying it is now up to the Syrian government to resolve its fate.
The decision to withdraw the warplanes that have been circling over the convoy came after Syrian troops advancing through the province of Deir al-Zour passed the point where the convoy is located, leaving it behind Syrian army lines, according to a military statement.
The convoy became stuck in the no man’s land between the front lines of the Syrian army and the Islamic State after the U.S. military bombed the road ahead to prevent it from reaching Islamic State territory in eastern Syria. It had been traveling there from western Syria under the terms of a deal struck between the Islamic State and the Lebanese Hezbollah movement to end fighting along the Lebanese border.
Because Syrian troops are now in control of the area, the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State agreed to a Russian request to halt the surveillance, in the interests of deconflicting the rival Russian- and U.S.-backed efforts to defeat the militants, the statement said.
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