Hezbollah leader defends evacuation of Islamic State fighters

FILE PHOTO: A convoy of Islamic State fighters and their families begin to depart from the Lebanon-Syria border zone in Qalamoun, Syria August 28, 2017. REUTERS/ Omar Sanadiki

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The leader of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, on Wednesday defended the Lebanese group’s involvement in an evacuation deal for Islamic State fighters from the Syria-Lebanon border to an area of eastern Syria held by Islamic State.

In a statement responding to criticism of the move from Iraq, he said it was a Hezbollah deal agreed upon by the Syrian leadership, that the fighters were few in number, and were being moved from one front Hezbollah was fighting in to another.

Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Robin Pomeroy