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Report: Secret Agreement Allowed ISIS Fighters To Leave Raqqa

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, a secret deal allowed hundreds of Islamic State terrorists to flee Raqqa, Syria—under the supervision of the U.S.-led coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces that spearheaded the city’s recapture—in exchange for ending the battle. The agreement was reportedly arranged by local officials after four months of intense fighting left the de facto capital of ISIS’ self-declared caliphate on the verge of collapse. The BBC claimed that among those permitted to escape were some of the Islamic State’s most notorious members, who have since spread out across Syria, perhaps even making it as far as Turkey. Witnesses cited in the report purported that the ISIS convoy departing Raqqa was up to seven kilometers long and included dozens of trucks, more than ten buses and an estimated one hundred other vehicles. In response, a spokesman for the Western coalition against ISIS admitted that about 250 terrorists were allowed to leave the city along with 3,500 family members and that a Western official was present at the preceding negotiations but did not take an “active part” in forging the accord. The revelation comes a day after U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis vowed to combat the Islamic State in Syria for “as long as they want to fight,” with the long-term objective of preventing the emergence of “ISIS 2.0.”

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