In a live speech, Hezbollah leader Nasrallah said he traveled to Damascus to discuss the evacuation of hundreds of Islamic State group fighters and civilians from the Lebanon-Syria border to areas close to Iraq with Bashar al-Assad.
Nasrallah also said that the U.S. pressured Lebanon not to launch the operation against ISIS and threatened to cut off aid, "but the Lebanese military took a sovereign decision. He also praised Lebanese President Michel Aoun.
"The liberation operation on the Lebanese-Syrian border has worried Israel, which is losing allies in Syria," Nasrallah said. He added that "Lebanon will always have to be strong and strengthened because Israel is always seeking to control the area and the water sources."
The evacuation agreement, the first such publicized deal, angered many Iraqis who accused Syria and Lebanon's Hezbollah of dumping the militants on the Iraqi border rather than eradicating them.
The top U.S. envoy for the international coalition against ISIS, Brett McGurk, tweeted on Wednesday that it is "irreconcilable" that ISIS "terrorists should be killed on the battlefield, not bused across Syria to the Iraqi border without Iraq's consent."
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