Surveillance aircraft that were monitoring an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) convoy stuck in the desert in eastern Syria have left the area at the request of Russian officials, the U.S.-led coalition said Friday. “To ensure safe de-confliction of efforts to defeat ISIS, coalition surveillance aircraft departed the adjacent airspace at the request of Russian officials during their assault on Dawyr Az Zawyr,” the coalition said in a statement.
ISIS fighters are using the road for safe passage to link up with their comrades in ISIS-held territory in eastern Syria bordering Iraq.
The U.S.-led coalition, intent on making sure the convoy did not make it to the Iraqi border and link up with other ISIS fighters, cratered the road and destroyed a bridge with airstrikes. That forced six buses to turn back to Palmyra, a Syrian government-controlled city, and stranded the remaining 11. A U.S. spokesman for the coalition told reporters Thursday that it has been striking ISIS fighters walking away from the convoy or trying to link up with the group, estimating that 85 ISIS fighters hav