ISIS Seeks Deal to Withdraw From Syria-Lebanon Border as Troops Advance

Hezbollah Seizing Key Territory in Qalamoun

The Lebanese military, backed by Hezbollah, continues to push north along their border with Syria, pushing deeper into the territory held by a small pocket of ISIS forces, with officials saying a total victory is increasingly close and Hezbollah bragging about territory they’ve seized on both sides of the border.

Unlike most other ISIS territory in Syria, which is connected, this area is far afield from the rest of their territory, and has ISIS leaders within the exclave formally requesting a deal that would allow them to surrender the territory in return for free passage into ISIS territory further east.

Though such deals have been common with other militant groups, it’s not clear they’ll be as eager to cut deals with ISIS, and the goal right now seems to be to capture as many ISIS fighters as possible, while sweeping through and reclaiming the territory in the Qalamoun region.

In general, such withdrawal agreements come when the rebels are dug in sufficiently that routing them would be difficult, or costly,and that it’s simpler to just let them leave. In this case, however, it’s not clear ISIS has a lot of defensible positions, and seems to be losing left and right.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.