Hezbol­lah deal trans­fers al Qaeda fighters, refugees

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

BEIRUT | More than a hun­dred buses car­ry­ing thou­sands of al Qaeda-linked fighters and Syr­ian refugees drove down a dirt road from Le­banon into Syria on Wed­nes­day, in what was the last phase of an ex­change deal be­tween Syria’s al Qaeda branch and Le­banon’s mil­i­tant Hezbol­lah group.

The de­par­ture of al Qaeda fighters from the Le­banon-Syria bor­der comes three years to the day its fighters stormed the Le­banese bor­der town of Ar­sal and cap­tured two dozen sol­diers, killing some in cap­tiv­ity and re­leas­ing oth­ers. The group’s pres­ence in Le­banon has left scores of peo­ple dead.

More than 7,000 Syr­ian refugees and gun­men, in­clud­ing a top al Qaeda op­er­a­tive in Syria known as Abu Malek al-Talli, were aboard the 113 buses the left Le­banon’s Ar­sal re­gion to­ward the Syr­ian bor­der vil­lage of Fleeta, ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment-con­trolled Syr­ian Cen­tral Mil­i­tary Me­dia.

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