BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State fighters and their families who had been inside an IS enclave on the Lebanon-Syria border reached an exchange point in eastern Syria on Tuesday from where they will head to IS-held territory, a Hezbollah military media unit said.
The transfer under Syrian military escort was agreed under a ceasefire deal. The convoy of buses and ambulances left the border region on Monday after a ceasefire took effect on Sunday.
The deal ended a week-long offensive with the Lebanese army on one front and Hezbollah with the Syrian army on the other against Islamic State’s mountainous enclave straddling the Lebanon-Syria border.
For the first time in years, Lebanon now controls all of its border with Syria. Its southern border with Israel is patrolled by UNIFIL, the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
Having ousted Islamic State, the Lebanese army on Tuesday deployed across the area, planting its flag near the border, footage on Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV showed.
A security source said there was an unknown number of mines left behind in the region, which might be difficult to remove as the army does not have maps of their location.
Mine-clearing work will start soon with the aim of letting people return to work in the mountainous area which includes fields and some quarries, the source said.
Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Sarah Dadouch; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky
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