17 buses, containing slightly over 300 ISIS fighters and an estimated 350 civilians, including ISIS family members, remain stranded in the middle of the Syrian desert today after the US attacked the highway they were traveling on and destroyed a bridge to keep them being evacuated.
The evacuation was meant to be part of a ceasefire deal ISIS forces on the Lebanon border made with Lebanon and Syria, but US officials expressed anger at the idea, saying that busing ISIS members is unacceptable, and all must be killed on the spot.
US officials say they have not yet attacked the bus, over concerns about inflicting civilian casualties, but haven’t ruled out doing so in the future if the buses try to take an alternate route. They did confirm attacks on ISIS vehicles they said were dispatched to try to help direct the convoy to safety.
The US seems to be determined to keep the evacuation convoy from advancing, warning them against taking any alternate routes. It’s not clear, however, that leaving busloads of civilians stranded in the desert is a real option in the long-term.