Lebanon bid farewell to soldiers kidnapped and killed by ISIS
People in Lebanon and government officials bid farewell to 10 Lebanese soldiers who were kidnapped and subsequently killed by the ISIS group in 2014.
The state-run funeral took place near the capital Beirut on Friday, also attended by President Michel Aoun.
The government awarded the country’s highest medals to the 10 soldiers posthumously.
Lebanon was able to recover the bodies of the fallen soldiers after a deal struck between the Lebanese Hezbollah militia and the ISIS group last month.
ISIS agreed to reveal the location of the bodies in return for Hezbollah, backed by the Syrian regime, opening a route to allow hundreds of ISIS militants to move from the Syrian-Lebanese border to ISIS-held territories in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor, on the Iraqi border.
Iraq, the Kurdistan Region, and the global coalition against ISIS all expressed their concerns and opposition to the deal citing security risks on the border with Iraq.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah defended the arrangement saying that without such a deal, there was no way they could know the fate of the soldiers.
The Coalition initially blocked the ISIS convoy from heading towards the intended areas in Deir ez-Zor. It carried out airstrikes to block the road, but refrained from targeting the buses that transported ISIS militants and their families for fear of civilian casualties.
The Coalition announced Friday that at the request of Russia, their surveillance aircraft left the area where they were monitoring the movements of an ISIS convoy in the Syrian desert.
The coalition added that they would not allow ISIS militants to reach Iraqi border areas.
Photos by AFP/Mahmoud Zayyat