BEIRUT ― The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group says a deal negotiated by local officials and tribesmen has been reached in Syria’s Raqqa to evacuate civilians and local ISIS fighters but not foreign militants.
Omar Alloush, an official from the Local Raqqa Council, confirmed the deal Saturday saying local fighters have been included in the evacuation. He didn’t immediately comment on the number of evacuees. The deal was negotiated by the Raqqa Civilian Council and tribal leaders.
In a statement Saturday, the coalition said it is not involved in the talks but “believes that it will save lives” and allow the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the Coalition to focus on defeating ISIS in Raqqa with less risk to civilians.
The deal reached on Thursday allows the SDF to screen and search all those leaving the area. The coalition said a convoy of vehicles is to leave Raqqa later Saturday.